Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leadership In Complexity

In organizing for diversity and complexity, I discussed structural changes that are needed in our institutions. Kevin Wheeler has a great slide presentation on leadership in complexity that looks at what is required in such a diverse and complex work world. In the future of leadership development, Kevin describes some new core leadership skill sets (Slides 17-21):

  • Dealing with Ambiguity
  • Dealing with Complexity
  • Dealing with Interdependencies
  • Fostering Creativity
  • Challenging Assumptions

Two shifts are driving the need for a new type of leadership: 1) networks are giving workers the freedom to act and cooperate and 2) the optimal control structure for complex environments is loose hierarchies and strong networks. Leadership, and organizational support functions, need to move from command & control to enable & encourage.

Kevin's presentation aligns with several of the ideas I've been working on. Using terms from his presentation, I would say that a transparent, flexible and open organizational model is necessary so that leaders can listen to and analyze what is happening in real time. In turn, leaders can help set context and build consensus. This is 21st century leadership.

Thanks to Harold Jarche / Jarche


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