Potassium-ion batteries (PIBs) are an emerging, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternative to lithium-ion batteries, with their further development driven by the need for suitably performing electrode materials capable of reversibly accommodating the relatively large K+. Layer-structured manganese oxides are attractive as electrodes for PIBs, but suffer from structural instability and sluggish kinetics of K+ insertion/extraction, leading to poor rate capability. Herein, cobalt is successfully introduced at the manganese site in the KxMnO2 layered oxide electrode material and it is shown that with only 5% Co, the reversible capacity increases by 30% at 22 mA g-1 and by 92% at 440 mA g-1. In operando synchrotron X-ray diffraction reveals that Co suppresses Jahn–Teller distortion, leading to more isotropic migration pathways for K+ in the interlayer, thus enhancing the ionic diffusion and consequently, rate capability. The detailed analysis reveals that additional phase transitions and larger volume change occur in the Co-doped material as a result of layer gliding, with these associated with faster capacity decay, despite the overall capacity remaining higher than the pristine material, even after 500 cycles. These results assert the importance of understanding the detailed structural evolution that underpins performance that will inform the strategic design of electrode materials for high-performance PIBs.