Leading through 360 Intelligent Networks Knowledge & Skills

LINKS360 – Our Quomodo (MO) in responding to leadership challenges

The LINKS360 approach draws intelligence, knowledge and skills together within a collective leadership scenario. Networks are described as the nervous system of society, with the twenty-first century as the age of networks. Networks are not only present in the technology arena; but are increasingly evident and influential in politics, economics, society, culture and in every aspect of our work.  Think about it.  Everything that we do, we do with people.  And, in all that we do with people, this involves relationships.  These relationships exist within networks.

LINKS360also encourages you to think about leadership in a different way. Thinking about leadership in a different way promises to help in shifting away from individual (and often selfish motivations) to collective (more selfless) leadership. We need to re-imagine leadership, a point we made strongly in our earlier resources on the meaning and application of collective leadership.  Central to LINKS360 are three key components, described below: Intelligence, Knowledge and Skills.


Balancing the heart, hte head and the soul

What is Intelligent Leadership?

The notion of intelligent leadership is less to do with personal or emotional intelligence and more to do with collective intelligence in applying knowledge and understanding to the practice of leading.

There are four forms of Intrinsic Intelligence

Intelligent leadership has been viewed as a means of dealing with a leadership deficit through a combination of four kinds of intelligence.

Intelligence of the hand (the skill to do things), intelligence of the head (the ability to reason things out), the intelligence of the heart (awareness of one’s own feelings) and intelligence of the soul (clarity over the values guiding all action)

(Sydänmaanlakka, 2008:4).



“Knowledge is power …. Knowledge increases influence?”

It is often said that ‘knowledge is power’, originally attributed to Francis Bacon, a term also apparently used consistently by Thomas Jefferson who equated knowledge with safety, and happiness as well as power. Interestingly, knowledge is one of the factors why the founding fathers were so successful in creating what is arguably today one of the world’s most influential nation. History shows that although there were vast differences of opinion and conflict between them that they did act as a team. At different times, when individual skills, knowledge and expertise were required, those with the appropriate qualities stepped forward. They then stepped back again when a different set of qualities were needed. From a leadership perspective, it is more about applying this knowledge to the practice of leadership and, ultimately, practical wisdom. Knowledge alone will be insufficient in and of itself; knowledge needs to be both managed and led.




“Having the right people, in the right places, doing the right things, for the right reasons” requires the right skills and abilities”.

One of the three dimensions of the Leadership3 challenge is the need to build both capacity (of the institution) and capability (of those who work within the institution) considering this from the ‘known’ to the ‘unknown’ levels of capacity and capability. This supports the second dimension which is answering the leadership challenge on the basis of identifying the challenge, again taking account of both the unknown challenges as well as those which are known. The third dimension is the leadership style ranging from individual, through to distributed within the institution and, ultimately shared across networks. The development of leadership skills is therefore critical to the achievement of the institutional core purpose and values in equal measure to the building of institutional capacity through systems and structures

A hitchhikers guide to tackling wicked problems in reforming leadership

Our approach includes the principles of adaptive leadership in tackling adaptive challenges or, as is more often referred to as complex (so-called) “wicked problems’; not wicked in the sense of being evil but, rather, wicked in the sense of their complexity

Adaptive leadership is critical to our discussion concerning Applied Leadership Challenge Spaces (ALCS), I refer to Harvard Professor Ronald Heifetz’s  who defines the holding environment a critical element of his approach to adaptive leadership.  He tells us what the holding environment (our ‘space’) comprises:

“The cohesive properties of a relationship or social system that serve to keep people engaged with one another in spite of the divisive forces generated by adaptive work” (Heifetz et al., 2009: 305).

We all know how difficult it can be to respond to even the most simple of leadership problems. Why is this? Reflect on this for a moment and then consider the other five intelligent leadership questions you will now be familiar with if you have followed my portal from the beginning. If not, or you have forgotten, click here to refresh your understanding before reflecting further.

When you are ready, watch my short introductory video which talks about tackling adaptive challenges (10 minutes).

Adaptive Leadership


3 Five Minute Nuggets


Click on each image below to open the E-Learning Nugget

From Values to Delivery


Joining up the Vision

six people working together

Sharing Responsibility


How do we recognise  a leadership deficit?
The same old things keep happening time and time again … (we seem to keep going around in circles). Whilst it is predictable, the patterns just keep repeating. The senior bosses complain about being overloaded, the shop floor workers or those who deliver the services complain that no one is listening, and they are continually being asked to do the impossible. Middle leaders complain that they are ‘stuck in the middle’ trying to keep the ‘top bosses’ happy as well as their line reports.

Does this sound familiar?

This is what we describe as the leadership deficit syndrome. It is a pattern of inaction, misguided management and poor motivation that happens with alarming regularity. The predictable response to this is one in which we all know things are wrong but where we all assume that it is someone else’s job to put it right. In the meantime, we all wait around waiting for the fixers to fix it and continue to get disheartened, demotivated and disengaged. Ultimately, people leave the team or the organisation and, in their place, comes another person who eventually feels the same.

Click on the Image above for the e-learning Nugget on taking Values and Vision to Delivery

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”
― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
LINKS360® is presented as a practical process of leadership development. It applies learning to practice at all levels of leadership. But learning is not just about reading the learning resources or listening to presentations in the lecture theatre or virtual sessions. These methods of learning are important, but it is more about learning in practice and testing your knowledge by applying it to real-world problems. As we describe shortly, as a general rule of thumb, only 10% of your learning comes from formal teaching. The majority comes from your experience in collaborative problem-solving. You are looking to find solutions to problems, and the best way of doing this – as Aristotle tells us – is by trial and error.

An Applied Leadership Challenge Space (ALCS) can be either physical or virtual. It is ‘where’ the ‘collective’ leadership comes together to discuss, identify, and respond to leadership challenges. It is where the process of determining how to respond to the challenges takes place through applied leadership sets (ALS). The ALSs are also grounded on the principles of action learning and reflective practice.

Click on the Image above to go to the E-learning Nugget on Applied Leadership Challenges

What is Mutual Accountability?

Accountability helps create ownership and autonomy. It is an enabler of trust amongst the people you work with across your organisation and networks. As we have learnt from the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, working in a remote environment can make it harder to hold yourself, and others, accountable. Developing a sense of mutual accountability is a critical response to this and other leadership deficits and in building the wider trust among other stakeholders and, most notably, the public.

Accountability is so important that it represents the flip side of collective leadership in terms of accountable leadership. Effective application of leadership will rely on both.

How mutual can we be?

First and foremost is the requirement to create a culture of accountability. This is a long-term aim but one that is essential in supporting the institutional core purpose. Once introduced and embodied, it will make life at work easier and support the applied leadership challenge space. In the short term, the responsibility of leaders is to create a climate of accountability. This is shorter term and can be strengthened by mutual accountability.

Click on the image above to (1) explore how your understanding of accountability aligns with what it means and (2) briefly explore how mutual accountability can improve both performance and longer-term organisational and individual learning.

Are you ready to learn how to navigate our 360O leadership networks, knowledge and skills?

Leading through 360 Intelligent Networks, Knowledge and Skills

LINKS360 – Our Leadership Quomodo

Read more about the LINKS360 approach. This draws intelligence, knowledge and skills together within a collective leadership scenario. LINKS360 encourages you to think about leadership in a different way. Thinking about leadership in a different way promises to help in shifting away from individual (and often selfish motivations) to collective (more selfless) leadership. We need to re-imagine leadership, a point that we made strongly in our earlier sessions on the meaning and application of collective leadership.Click here.

The Selfless Leader