Systemic Leadership and the Art of Intricacy


What is Systems based Leadership?

If a business’ aim is to promote and encourage better overall performance of their ‘purpose’, they should be looking at systems based interpretations of leadership. We have the ability to reinvent organisational opportunities to thrive by taking advantage of this system.

Before we go on – How many work based initiatives focus on making individuals more resilient, better leaders or healthier people?

In an organisation we perform in the whole, namely a “system”. Used properly, systems based leadership enables more diverse teams, leaders able to facilitate the whole team to perform whoever they are, contributing to greater meaning in work and wider company success. 

Why does systems based leadership matter to my organisation?

A company is a living organism and faces innumerable daily challenges. Complex and ever changing means having a culture that can adapt. Management is now moving towards a holistic approach to meet the needs of the system as a whole, taking influence from anthropologists and social scientists rather than just the rigid processes of the past.

How to implement a systems based approach?

  1. What is your current leadership style and feel?
  2. What would you like your team to feel about the leadership culture in the organisation?
  3. How are you going to create a more systems based approach to leadership?

Systems based leadership means multiple people in the organisation are leaders, not just the executive board.

Many recognise the feeling of ‘cattle treatment’, and how this saps meaning in an individual’s work. We observe how it removes sense of identity, sovereignty and autonomy which brings meaning to work itself. The ardent capitalists amongst you may not identify with the speaker, but; Karl Marx once wrote that seeing your identity in the work you do was fundamental to bringing meaning to the job at hand. Take the joiner who makes gates, if they recognise the gates they make in their hometown, their identity in their work brings an overwhelming sense of meaning. 

To treat these causes we need a combination of perspective and attention to detail. ‘Treat’ the human being rather than the employee. Good leaders in high positions are great at their jobs when they first, ‘see & hear’ and second, ‘action’ on the needs of those around them; both external and internal factors, in or outside of work.

‘Your behaviour, when no one is watching, influences your presence and perception as a leader. Both communication and interpersonal skills are pivotal. When we look around the world and assess how leaders have dealt with the pandemic, the shining examples are leaders who emulate these skills’ – Georgette Zinaty.

Your future system of leadership

Systems based leadership will enhance collective performance, the growth of people, and company value. Firms that take the initiative to see humans are emotional creatures who need nurturing and tending to in order to thrive. 

James Timpson, Chief Executive at Timpson shoemakers talks about the key to the growth of the business, pioneered based on trust and kindness. James helped grow Timpson to over 2100 shops, and developed several innovative ways to run the business at a time when traditional High Street retailing suffered. 

Listen to the podcast here

systemic leadership stats

Take accountability for the wellbeing of your system.

Those seeking a happier work environment are advised not to sit back while they wait for their bosses to catch up, rather, take some initiative by boosting their own skill set and leadership knowledge. Both having a positive impact on their own career as well as contributing to the workplace. 

‘In business, 83% of companies say developing leaders is crucial’

What will the outcome be?

To work with human beings means creating a balanced environment, forever adapting and tending to intricate details. There is no fast-track approach to the perfect environment but rather treating the cause and not the symptoms. 

Seize the initiative, evaluate your skillset, see and hear those around you and act in order to tend to the ecosystem that is your company.