A Flourishing, Thriving Leadership Community – Beyond Hierarchy and Function
By Theo Veldsman –
Work Psychologist, Former Professor in Work Psychology at University of Johannesburg
Travel Guide for Leadership Excellence in the newly emerging order
At a glance
In recent years the organisational context has transformed from being relatively uniform, independent, simple, orderly, stable, predictable and localised to one of increasing Variety, Interdependency (i.e., connectivity), Complexity, Change, ambiguity, Seamlessness and Sustainability, in short a VICCASS World.
These contextual shifts have resulted in the growing need in organisations to move:
- from THE leader – the sole, supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful individual at the top of the organisation exercising leadership
- to SHARED (or distributed) leadership – simultaneously interdependent leadership at all organisational levels and functions – to effectively deal with the more demanding, constantly changing and radically different context, both internally and externally.
Shared leadership implies amongst other things viewing the constellation of leaders in an organisation as a potential community of practice, a Leadership Community. A ‘Potential’, because a community of practice, in this case a Leadership Community, has to be deliberately thought through and set up.
Viewing the constellation of leaders in an organisation as a Leadership Community goes beyond the typical organisational hierarchy and function as the means to get things done in the organisation.
However, a Leadership Community does not to replace, but complement hierarchy and function in addressing organisation wide challenges, issues and problems spanning across hierarchy and function in order to address collectively the wicked challenges and demands of the VICCASS World.