Een gesprek aan een lawaaierig tafeltje 6 jaar geleden heeft ertoe geleid dat ik in de boot ben gestapt die Koen The Future Leadership Initiative gedoopt heeft. TFLI voor de vrienden. Hij koos bewust voor het woord Initiative en niet voor ‘gesloten’ center want het moest een open beweging zijn. Het mag duidelijk zijn voor wie rond kijkt dat Koen daar zeer sterk in geslaagd is. Samen…
“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…
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.…
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 political correctness.…
“Evolutionary leadership theory provides an answer to why modern leadership often fails, by suggesting that there is likely a mismatch between our evolved leadership psychology and the challenges of modern environments” (Van Vugt, 2012, p.166). 1) Leadership emerged in prehuman species (e.g. foraging patterns of insects, swimming patterns of schools of fish, flying pattern…
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 or less, small is also…
“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,…
“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…
"It's like you showed me the pole star," said an HR manager after my talk about happy shared leadership for the PM club audience of HR specialists and managers. "But I'm stuck on earth and I don't have a clue what to do next." I liked the image. Shared leadership is not a tool or model. It's a bright idea: "What if we see leadership as working together for a bigger idea?" This…
Sport metaphors easily find their way in leadership talks. And successful sport coaches can fill their days and wallets with keynotes about excellent team performance. Who wouldn’t like to hear how Marc Wilmots drives the Belgian Red Devils to the maximum of their possibilities? How does he forge cohesion out of the often fierce individual interests of players? How does he involve…
" In addition, we plan to have fewer layers of management, both top down and sideways, to accelerate the flow of information and decision making. This includes flattening organizations and increasing the span of control of people managers", states CEO Satya Nadella of Microsoft in a mail to all employees. Evidence indeed shows that shared instead of vertical leadership is needed…
Frédéric Laloux (2014) did research on twelve organisations without a hierarchical structure. The organisations come from different sectors (e.g. healthcare, food processing, utilities, consulting), have different sizes (from 10 up to 40.000) and operate locally or globally. Key elements in their organizational operating model: - Anybody can make at anytime a decision, as long…