HomeLeadership & Innovation A Flourishing, Thriving Leadership Community – Beyond Hierarchy and Function

 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.

Read on

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Theo holds a Doctorate in Industrial and Organisational Psychology. He is a registered psychologist (both Industrial and Research Psychology) and a registered personnel practitioner. He has extensive research and development, as well as consulting experience over the past 30 years in the fields of strategy formulation and implementation; strategic organisational change; organisational (re)design; team building; leadership/management; and strategic people/ talent management; the organisational and people dimension mergers and acquisitions.


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