The need for trans-leaders at the top of organizations

The role of leaders at the top is changing. They are no longer the “boss” as they used to be, the person in charge of an organization with a clear reporting line to their board of directors. Their formal authority and power has declined in this age of interdependency. This affects their leadership in three […]

Personal musings about leadership after 22/03 #brusselsattacks

”Leadership without easy answers.” (Heifetz, 1994) It’s the title of one of my all time favorite books about leadership. And it’s what comes to my mind day after day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels. I’m not so tempted to comment on the words and actions of our leaders as I was after the attacks […]

Sharon Hill: “Silence is a killer for virtual teams.”

Sharon Hill worked as a member and leader of global virtual teams and experienced firsthand how hard it was. She got the opportunity to do research on the topic and she is now one of the leading researchers in the field. She blends academic rigor and practical relevance, but it was her passion and the warm […]

The good and the bad cop in leadership

The good and bad cop routine, we all know it from the movies. The good cop says “trust me”. He or she connects, supports, understands. The bad cop says “Quit playing games”. He or she uses force and threatens. We also see it in leadership practice. The well-known ‘carrot and stick’ approach. Or the dilemma […]

Self-managing teams? I don’t think so.

This summer I’ve interviewed 44 leaders in 4 organizations that are empowering their teams in their primary processes*. The organizations come from different sectors: public administration, health care, production and engineering. Which preliminary  lessons do I draw? 1) Self-managing teams are an illusion We have to stop talking about self-managing or autonomous teams. It creates the […]

What is with entrepreneurs?

 “Could you do a 2 hour leadership workshop for our young entrepreneurs?” a client asked. “Off course”, was my reaction, “I love the spirit of start ups & entrepreneurs and would be more than happy to challenge them on their leadership.” “Great. And remember, it should be very hands on, not too theoretical. Entrepreneurs don’t […]

Power is the elephant in the room of leadership development

Notions as shared leadership spread easily in organizations. They have a seductive power. “Everybody a leader” or “we all lead together”: who could oppose to such an idea? An employee resisting that promise of empowerment, emancipation, voice is easily seen as negative or lacking sense of responsibility. Leadership development suffers from the same kind of […]

From palace to tent: cultural leadership

Sue Kay added an inspiring dimension to cultural leadership thinking on today’s colloquium on culture management. She has over thirty years’ experience in arts management and cultural administration. Her Phd in leadership brought her to the leadership practices of small cultural organisations. As + 85 % of cultural organisations in the UK count 5 employees […]

The power of strong ties

Jérôme Ravet is chief engineering at Sabca, one of the main aerospace companies in Belgium. Yesterday, during the Agoria seminar on the value of strategic partnerships, he told us an inspiring story about the extended manufacturing process of airplanes and how suppliers work together in close collaboration. Airplanes are so complex that they have to […]

Are you a top-down, T-shaped or 360° leader?

“Tell me about your leadership,” I asked the division manager in front of me. “Well, a typical day starts with scanning my environment for relevant information and dispatch it in my organization. I also check on the numbers and answer urgent questions or complaints. I am responsible for 4 units with a total of +/- […]

“My way” or “Bird on a wire?”

Many years ago, I sang Leonard Cohens Bird on a wire over and over again as a lullaby for my twin baby sons. It was one of the few songs I knew by heart. ‘Like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free.’ […]

To be in Cc or not to be in Cc as a leader

I had an interesting discussion this morning with managers from the public and social profit sector about giving and receiving trust. As an example I told them that a colleague of mine didn’t have the habit of putting me in copy of mails, although those mails were of interest for me. “At first I felt […]