Self Leadership
Distributed Authority = Innovation
Age of Complexity

For many centuries leadership approaches have relied on the fundamental assumption of organisational theory that a certain level of predictability and order exists in the world. In recent times as organisations had become more and more complex, Researcher and consultant David J Snowden in 2007 developed the 'Cynefin Framework' (Snowden, 2007) which allows executives to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities.

The framework sorts the issues facing leaders into five contexts defined by the nature of the relationship between cause and effect.

Four of these – simple, complicated, complex, and chaotic – require leaders to diagnose situations and to act in contextually appropriate ways. The fifth – disorder – applies when it is unclear which of the other four contexts is predominant (Snowden, 2007).
"Truly adept leaders know not only how to identify the context they're working in but also how to change their behaviour to match."
(Snowden, 2007)

Good and Great Leadership

First let's start with 'good' and 'great' leadership. James Bailey disputes the stubborn resolve that great and good are points along the same stream, and that it just isn't that way (Bailey, 2016). To summarise Bailey describes "great" as usually being associated with unusually intense or powerful, a force, or also 'excellent'. "Good" is usually associated with morality, virtue, and ethics, a 'good person'.

Great leadership

powerful, dominating, often overwhelming
excites, energises, and stimulates

humanity's progress
humanity's suffering
ignites collective action and stirs passion

no inherent moral compass
easily apply to pugilistic and peaceful purposes

Good leadership:

protecting and advancing widely accepted principles
doing the "right" thing

supports long-standing ethics, mores, and customs of conduct.
heeds the best interests and welfare of others.

not so noticeable.
can blend into background.

The above accounts for why great usually overshadows the direction of good (Bailey, 2016).

Great - a force that is often irrational and ungovernable
Good - a direction that has a north star, providing a point of shared values.

The great and good leadership do coexist, and the relationship is one that is perpetual and dynamic. See below:

(Bailey, 2016).
It's important to understand the difference between the two, great can be destructive, good can be impotent, effective leadership arguably needs both to coexist, but without good there can be devastating consequences. We need to manage the relationship between force and direction within organisations.
Authentic Leadership

At an individual level, there is growing evidence that an authentic approach to leading is desirable and effective for advancing the human enterprise and achieving positive and enduring outcomes in organisations (George et al., 2007). Organisational studies have shown there are many personal benefits of authenticity as well as organisational, including higher levels of psychological well-being, enhanced feelings of friendliness, and elevated performance (Grandey et al., 2005). If organisational leaders know and act upon their true values, beliefs, and strengths, while helping others to do the same, higher levels of employees' well-being will occur, which in turn have been shown to positively impact follower performance (Ryan & Deci, 2001).

A theory of authentic leadership has been emerging over the past two decades. As conceptualised within the emerging field of positive psychology (Seligman, 2002), authenticity can be defined as "owning one's personal experiences, be they thoughts, emotions, needs, preferences, or beliefs, processes captured by the injunction to know one- self" and behaving in accordance with the true self (S. Harter, 2002: 382).

Researchers Shamir and Eilam (2005: 399) described authentic leaders as people with the following attributes:

- the role of the leader is a central component of their self-concept
- they have achieved a high level of self-resolution or self-concept clarity
- their goals are self-concordant
- their behaviour is self-expressive

As well as these attributes Avolio and Gardner (Avolio, et al., 2005) argue that authentic leadership includes a positive moral perspective characterised by high ethical standards that guide decision making and behaviour.
"a pattern of leader behaviour that draws upon and promotes both positive psychological capacities and a positive ethical climate, to foster greater self-awareness, an internalised moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency on the part of leaders working with followers, fostering positive self-development."
(Avolio, et al., 2005)
In Conversation

As we move from planned to emergent change (Liebhart, 2010) in organisations theorists are understanding complexity sciences, psychology and sociology in new ways and which are defining new perspectives.
On managing complexity, researcher/author Patricia Shaw states, there are two ends of the spectrum here (Shaw, 2002):
The dominant voice talks about the individual as autonomous, self-contained, masterful and at the centre of an organisation, that talk about complex systems as objective realities that scientists can stand back from and model.
Voices from the fringes of organisational theory, complexity sciences, psychology and sociology which are defining a participative perspective. They argue that humans are themselves members of the complex networks that they form and are drawing attention to the impossibility of standing outside of them in order to objectify and model them. These voices emphasise the radically unpredictable aspects of self-organising processes and their creative potential. These are the voices of de-centred agency.
"if organising is understood essentially as a conversational process, an inescapably self-organising process of participating in the spontaneous emergence of continuity and change, then we need a rather different way of thinking about any kind of organisational practice that focuses on change."
- Patricia Shaw ( ).
Shaw talks about her approach to consulting and the value of 'just talking'. She believes in the facilitation and coaching approach but puts real emphasis on the value of the conversation - arguing it creates conditions that foster spontaneous reorganisation into more aligned, goal-directed activity (Shaw, 2002).

There are two interesting approaches developed for this conversational approach of which Shaw describes: Open Space Technology (Owen, 1992) and Future Search Conferencing (Weisbord, 1992).

Open Space Technology (OST) resides in four organising ideas:

- These are the geometry of the circle (meeting in the round)
- Rhythm of the breath (iterative cycles of working issues)
- Marketplace (organising around different interests)
- Bulletin board (public posting of who is meeting where about what)

Owen talks about a 'safe', well-managed working environment, in which structure and purpose are clear, difference does not seem so threatening. Such experiences tend to engender enthusiasm and goodwill, a sense of mutual value, a strengthening of one's identity as a contributor to collective effort and increased motivation for taking future action. Owen talks optimistically about organisational processes that generate and are generated by 'love'. (Shaw, 2002)

Future Search Conferencing design is constructed on these basic ideas

- Invite the 'whole system' into the room.
- Think globally, before acting locally.
- Future focus and common ground rather than problem solving and conflict resolution.
- Self-management and responsibility for action.

Future Search design invites people to construct together trajectories of their own personal experiences within an organisation, community or issue, and create from this a 'map' of the shared/global context. The next step is to create s fully as possible a picture of a desired future agreed context. The final step is that of people identifying potential projects and collaborations that will contribute to realising this envisioned better future (Shaw, 2002).

Future Search conference facilitation is influenced heavily by Wilfred Bion's psychoanalytic work (Bion, 1961) on repetitive patterns in groups, particularly in the face of anxiety to 'fight or flight', dependency and counter-dependency patterns in relation to authority and scapegoating, all ways in which the group energies become diverted from working on the task.

Emery and Trist made a discovery that a clear task placed in a shared global context reduces anxiety in a group and thus the tendency to fight or flee. Whenever the whole conference gathers for dialogue, they make it a point to stay silent as long as it takes for the first person to say something (Trist, et al,1973).
"We keep the door open by listening without acting. We are mindful that each time we solve a problem we deprive others of a chance to solve it for themselves."
(Trist, et al,1973)
Patricia Shaw conclude's in her book 'Changing Conversations in Organisations' (2002) - "how do we participate in the way things change over time?" meaning "How at the very movement of our joint sense-making experience, are we changing ourselves and our situation?'" and suggests:

"I am encouraging us to experience the paradox of forming and being formed as situated social selves, emerging persons in emerging social worlds patterned by history but open to movement as present interaction."


Other theories and methodologies have been developed more recently such as Dialogic OD (Bushe, et al, 2014), and Grounded Dialogic OD (Walsh, et al, 2015). They discuss similar ideas in emergent organisational change and the focus on people rather than systems. But I believe they focus more on sense-making and understanding in scientific terms, rather than capturing the true essence and complexity the way Shaw describes within the moments of conversations.

The Teal Model
A new world view is emerging for organisations, recently popularised by Frederic Laloux's book 'Reinventing Organisations' (2015). Laloux's argues that "something is broken in today's organisations, employers are disengaged, leaders are all powerful, customer do not trust businesses, and we are not thinking about the planet enough". This all falls in line with the research we have already discussed so far. The concept is that humanity evolves in sudden leaps and something new is on the way (Laloux, 2016). Ken Wilber, a philosopher of human consciousness, refers to these stages in colours, which makes things easy to remember.
Arguably we are about to leap to the stage colour 'Teal' and that Laloux calls 'Evolutionary Teal'. (Laloux, 2016).

Laloux believes, as doe others, we are about to invent a whole new management paradigm. I have tried to summarise the other four stages below.
RED (impulsive)
Tribes and Clans.
AMBER (conformist)
From 4000BC. Empires, States, Religions.
ORANGE (achievement)
Scientific and industrial revolutions. Organisations as machines.
GREEN (pluralistic)
Equality, Social, Activists.
organisations as families.

Either you are more powerful and you impose authority…

Or you are less powerful and you show allegiance to the boss

No initiative, no entrepreneurship

Archetypes: Wolf packs, Mafia, Street Gang

division of labour, top down authority
Play by the rules and you are saved, become part of the group.

Break the rules and you are rejected forever Agriculture, bureaucracies, organised religion

Social classe or castes

Archetypes: Army, Catholic Church

Replicable processes
Stable organisation chart
What if? Prosperity, Democracy, Science,
Progress, Industry

Corporations, banks, businesses (innovative and efficient machines in the pursuit of profit)

Archetypes: Nike, Coca Cola, Tesco

Strive to belong, foster close bonds with everyone. People are equal, every voice be heard.

NonProfits, Social Workers, Academic thinkers, Community activists

Archetypes: Ben & Jerry's

Values-driven culture
Stakeholder value
We have to remember that no organisation is really just one colour. A modern organisation is normally made up of many of these colours. It is also important to point out, that we should not think of people as 'better' if their thinking is in a later stage. Instead we can think of each stage as more 'complex'. (Laloux, 2016).
TEAL (Evolutionary) world view
In Evolutionary-Teal, we shift from external to internal yardsticks in our decision making (Laloux, 2016). For people who make the leap to Teal, below are some of the key markers of this world view:
1. Individual and collective unfolding
Let go of preconceived ideas of how the world should be and learn to listen within

2. Taming the Ego
We start to disidentity with inner voices (ego). Setbacks and mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn

3. Inner rightness
Does this seem right? Am I being true to myself?

4. Wholeness
Reuniting with all of who we are
The founders of Teal organisations use a different metaphor: with surprising frequency, they talk about their 'Organisation as a Living Organism or Living System'.

Upgraded systems from hierarchical, bureaucratic pyramids to powerful fluid systems, distributed authority and collective intelligence

Dropping the mask at work, reclaiming inner wholeness, and bring all of who we are to work
Evolutionary purpose

Organisations have a life a sense of direction of their own. Listen and understand what the organisations wants to be and where it wants to go
Not every practice will suit some organisations but there are some foundation practices that are needed to support a Teal organisation. I have tried to summarise some of the main ideas that support the three breakthrough components of Evolutionary Teal here:

Self-management: Complexity, Self management, Advice process, Self-initiated Salary, Performance Motivation, No power hierarchy.

Wholeness: Reinventing practices, Safe Spaces, Reflection, Storytelling, Effective Meetings, Performance Evaluations.

Evolutionary purpose: Have an evolutionary purpose, Sense and respond, Strategy is adaptive, Structured ways to listen, No change management, Must have a world view.

Necessary conditions to shift to Teal:

A - The founder or CEO must view the world through Teal lenses, and they must understand the Teal practises.

B - Owners of the organisation must also understand and embrace a Teal worldview.

Transforming an existing organisation

To move away from existing practices in a pyramid, a committed and powerful CEO is needed. They need to listen to the organisation, to it's energy, and ask for which change is there most energy? Where is energy currently blocked or waiting to be set free? (Laloux, 2016)

Some might feel nervous about the risks involved, and some people might not be comfortable leaving everything to trust. As Laloux points out though, in Teal, control is exerted in a whole new way. Control is embedded in the organisation's capacity to self-correct. Something we are not too familiar with, but it is extremely powerful. For a system to self-correct three thing are needed:

1. Shared understanding of what's healthy
2. Information, data and transparency
3. Forums for conversation to trigger action

How will employees react to change?

Some people who are passive and cynical can suddenly blossom and surprise everyone with all sorts of initiatives. Many companies like FAVI, a french car manufacturer, made it clear there's no need for managers or supervisors anymore and supported their decisions to stay or go financially. Many senior management say how liberating it is to no longer have pressure above and below, an go back to doing something more creative. (Laloux, 2016)

Lastly the role of CEO will change, as many of their time spent in meetings will disappear. However they have multiple roles to fill like being the public face of the company. Other roles include sensing - listening and understanding where the organisation wants to go, holding the space - whenever there is a problem, ensure that old management methods do not creep back in, and role modelling - be willing to go to a deeper level in themselves, take risks and build trust.

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