I’ve always dreamt of being a peace warrior, not in the sense of soldier, but rather as a zen buddhist warrior centuries ago, in Asia. There’s for me an aura that emanates from these warriors. As if they were embodied wisdom: right action, right view, right words – all at once, all in one. Inner and outer in full alignment. Just recently I was in a five-day silent retreat…
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 fundamental ways. Their leadership has become more trans-organizational. Trans-organizational…
“Can an organization be too divergent?” asked a middle manager of a large bank me in a development journey? He was taking up the role of Facilitating Adaptability a lot lately.  And the answer seems yes. I’ve seen it in several organizations that promote shared leadership. The top keeps repeating their mantra ‘everybody is leader’, ‘come with new ideas’, ‘it is…
The other day I was reading the hobbies of several C-level executives. And once again I found the usual suspects: cooking, history, art, classical music, old-timers, wine, golf, walking in the mountains … I’ve always wondered, do they do this because it is just part of the social class they belong to (cf. Bourdieu)? Or do they really enjoy it?  And why have these hobbies never…
Leadership development starts with developing as a human being. The classical Greek philosophers such as Plato discussed already the properties of being: Beauty, Goodness  & Truth. So, in a way I’m the business of Beauty, Goodness & Truth. As a scientist Truth is the obvious one, and as a leadership scholar Goodness as well, but what about Beauty? I therefore followed…
“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 +/- 50 people. I spend a lot of time being available for them,…
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 frustrated," I told the group. "I was no longer able to evaluate if the delegated…
Radja Nainggolan plays a great season as midfielder for AS Roma. He's also been drafted regularly for the succesful Belgian soccer team and scored recently in a qualifying match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Great was my surprise when I read that he never has had a personal meeting with the trainer of the "Red Devils": "Some coaches talk with their players, he doesn't. I know that…
“A shared or distributed leadership model is better suited for guiding companies that are facing more uncertain, more changing, and more complex markets “(p.23) is what is argued in the book ‘Boards that lead. When to take charge, when to partner, and when to stay out of the way from’ (2014). Although it is clear that the authors are not familiar with the shared leadership…
Paul was a brilliant young engineer when he started in the IT network department of an international utility company. He soon became key in the team of network designers and when the department grew, he was elected team leader. By the age of 33, Paul was network manager with an undisputed reputation of network expertise.  He worked very hard, but his team became frustrated. Paul…
When I ask seasoned managers in the class room about examples of leadership, a lot of them tell stories about getting the job done. "There was indecisiveness in the group and I took the decision." "There was a change needed and I just told them to do it." "We needed to get our sales target and I pushed my people to go the extra mile." This kind of answers frustrate me. They seem…
"It all depends," I answered, when the journalist called me with the question about the ethical behaviour of managers. He had read a news clip about research at Ghent University and wanted the opinion from experts in the field. "Off course," the journalist replied, "but nevertheless, I want an exact position on a scale from 1-untrue to 4- true.  And the arguments. Do you want to…