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Collaborative Leadership and Health: A Review of the Literature

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This literature search on collaborative leadership used six key terms and covered 10 databases (ABI/Inform, Academic Universe/Medical, Communication Abstracts, ERIC, Expanded Academics/Health Reference Center, Medline, Periodical Abstracts, PsychInfo, SocWork Abstracts, and WorldCat). It covered literature from 1985 to the present and returned 37,323 titles. In addition to this systematic search, the review includes sources known to the four-member research team. It covers six areas:(1) Leadership and health outcomes: collaborative forms of leadership are good strategies for affecting public health outcomes.(2) Skills, competencies and capacities: while we may expect too much of individual leaders, collaborative leadership provides a way to share the skills and capacities of many people.(3) Best practices: include competent leadership, communication skills, building relationships, a shared vision, and recognizing crisis as opportunity.(4) Conditions and contingencies: While politics and differences among stakeholders may be impediments to collaborative leadership, shared planning, provision of resources, creating a vision, and trust are characteristics likely to promote such leadership. These characteristics promote empowerment, which is a key to successful leadership.(5) Leadership development strategies and methods: Developing leaders is not a static activity, and multiple strategies are needed. No one approach will work with everyone.(6) Collaborative technologies: Technology is a key part of leadership development and public health leadership, and currently includes videoconferencing, distance learning, the Internet, and multiple software packages.