How will you Rethink Leadership?

Rethinking is about taking what we know about our experiences of leadership and our reimaginations about what it could be and reassessing practice.  Why experiences?  It is the true north of our collective leadership compass.  Nothing informs our thinking more than what we have seen, heard and taken part in.  

Experience will tell us intuitively what needs to change.  Our challenge now is to rethink how we can build on exceptional experiences and learn from the not-so-good stories.  We need to rethink how our leadership responds externally to the increasing challenges that face our organisation.  We need to rethink how our organisation adopts a leadership style that responds to present and future challenges and one that will help build organisational capacity and capability.  Finally, we need to rethink how we want our leaders to lead.  How do you want to lead is a critical question.

Leadership is complex: From Chaos to Order

A characteristic of complexity is that it is unlikely that the issues or problems underpinning it will either become fully known or likely to be fully resolved. In this sense, it shares these characteristics with what is popularly referred to as wicked problems, not wicked in the sense of them being evil but rather in describing how leadership challenges emerge and morph in terms of their characteristics.

Framing is a critical element of problem-solving. For example, it is suggested that leaders will tend to frame a problem around their own perceptions and experiences rather than focusing on the characteristics of the problem that they face. Framing is a practical tool that enables leaders to strategically use information to define and articulate a negotiating issue or situation. Framing helps in turning information into intelligence and, ultimately – and collectively – transforming intelligence into wisdom through evidence-based action and evaluation.

An important point is a realisation that if the leadership challenge is not correctly identified at the outset, leadership actions are unlikely to work.  Rather than create order from chaos, the chaos will continue (at best) or expand (at worst).

Understanding the Three Dimensions of  Leadership

Dimension 1:
Leadership Challenge
The first dimension defines a critical purpose of Leadership3. This is to make the unknown known! To do this, we need to discover patterns. Once leaders have established the patterns, proactive and cooactive responses are then possible.

Dimension 2:
Capacity and Capability

The second dimension takes account of the capacity of the organisation to achieve its purpose and the capabilities of its people to deliver the product or service. Similarly, this ranges from the known capacities and capabilities through to the unknowns.

Dimension 3:
Leadership Style

The third dimension defines a collective leadership style. This ranges from the individual to distributed and ultimately shared leadership. Shared leadership is applied across different disciplines with a common purpose.

The Authenticity of Leader’s Interest

Transformation Characteristics

Authentic leaders display behaviours that are genuinely transformational. The opposite to this is what Bernard Bass referred to as ‘Pseudo Transformational’ Leaders. Authenticity, therefore, describes genuine transformational leadership. Although not exhaustive, authentic behaviours will be characterised by:

  • Legitimacy
  • Trustworthiness
  • Realist
  • Understanding of needs
  • Intelligent application of knowledge and experience
  • Sacrifice own interests for the greater good
  • Motivates others to achieve the end goals


Authentic leaders can thus be described as being true to themselves and others; in the absence of this, leaders may deceive others by not being true to themselves and others. Authenticity brings the human element into the centre of the role of the leader.

Two Minute Video Introduction:
Are you Ready to Take the Leap into Leadership3


Three 5 Minute Nuggets


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

Fallible to Full Leadership

In his very open and detailed discussion of what he describes as the “Lucifer’ effect: Why Good People Turn Evil, Phillip Zimbardo (2008) argues:

Most of us hide behind egocentric biases that generate the illusion that we are special. These self serving protective shields allow us to believe that each of us is above average on any test of self-integrity” … and “that we look to the stars through the thick lens of personal invulnerability when we should also look down to the slippery slope beneath our feet” (p.5)

Reimagining New Ways

compass in hand

Individual leadership skills are necessary, particularly at times of crisis, but they will only get us so far. Dealing with complexity requires collective solutions through collective networks working to a shared vision.
Individual leaders need to be authentic and choose their true north based on their moral compass.  Collective leaders will join together, share accountability for success in the public interest, share their journey, and share their moral compasses within a collective vision for success.

Reimagining New Ways

Innovation and Creativity represent the foundation for transformational and collective leadership.

Leaders tackle complexity by exploring the unknowns as well as the knowns. Just as important, by following our approach we help you to prepare to find the unknown unknowns! Our maixm is:

– attributed to Albert Einstein (1879–1955); Henry Ford (1863-1947)

Are you ready to give more thought to rethinking your leadership style?

Leadership 3 Dimension in the form of cube


Leadership challenges range from what we already know to what we do not know. Often, leaders will revert to their default position. Although facing a challenge not encountered before, there is a tendency to fall back on a leadership response that has been tried and tested before. The leader is then dumbfounded when it does not work! Our more detailed summary introduces the Leadership3 model and then explores the underpinning complexities of leadership and how to respond to it. Click here.

The Selfless Leader