When I was first promoted to manage a team I was advised to read all sorts of management books, which I duly did. The one that resonated most with me and I return to time and again was Mike Abrashoff's It's Your Ship, which is all about how he took charge of the worst performing ship in the US Navy and proceeded to make it the best ship.
Rather than use the traditional autocratic, hierarchical military chain of command he chose to empower everyone from the pot-washer all the way up through the ship. He made them feel a sense of pride and do their jobs because they wanted to, not because their superior ordered them. It worked.
The Distributed Leadership model used by Passle's professional services clients similarly requires people at multiple levels to take ownership & lead their team, whenever appropriate. They operate a "Command of Teams" structure with teams operating independently of one another within a more rigid superstructure, as described by John Okoro from InfoQ.
The leaders of a large law firm's IP team have little to do with the same firm's shipping law experts or employment law experts. As a result, all three sets of leaders lead their teams relatively autonomously.
Enabling those team leaders to get their thoughts and opinions regarding their area of expertise published or broadcast regularly is a powerful way of communicating internally & to clients and prospects. Most of them recognise they should be doing more of it but finding the time to do so can be a major hurdle. Enabling many people across the business to step up & produce expert insight is one simple way of overcoming it. As Captain Mike said, "It's Your Ship".
“Show me an organization in which employees take ownership, and I will show you one that beats its competitors.” ― “I found that the more people knew what the goals were, the better buy-in I got—and the better results we achieved together.” D. Michael Abrashoff, It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy