Leadership Functions

To know when and how do lead, one must know what leadership does, and how it enables an organization to succeed. Effective leadership goes far beyond looking, acting and sounding like a leader.  Leaders know the right things to do. And they know how to do them.

Slide1However, given the organizing complexity of today’s world, leading well gets harder every day.

Many things in organizations go like clockwork. People usually show up for work on time and do their jobs. Managers and supervisors keep these daily activities moving forward.

Sometimes, however, things need to change. When this happens, effective leaders know that certain things have to happen that only strong leadership can deliver. 

Our research at Leadership Science uses ideas from complexity science to better understand organizations that are faced with dynamic and changing circumstances. From these studies our researchers have identified three distinct functions that must be performed effectively to keep organizations strong and healthy during these times.

  1. Build Strong and Healthy Communities – Build safe, secure and nurturing environments that strengthen individual and community identities and satisfy basic human needs. This allows the participants to focus on the needs and goals of the organization.
  2. Administer & Execute Programs – Administer planning and execute operating programs to acquire, maintain and defend resources.
  3. Generate Options – Try new approaches and vet their efficacy by experimenting and learning from entrepreneurial risk taking and by investing in successful initiative.

Leadership must enact all of these functions simultaneously. However, the relative intensity of each, as well as how each is performed, is likely to vary according to the needs of the organization and the local situation.  To be effective, therefore requires that leadership interactions continuously enact broad and noiseless information and communication flows that gather and use information effectively.

As leadership interactions perform each of these functions, a leadership climate is created.  This climate is experienced by each individual as knowing the rules, routines, and expectations as they apply uniquely to him or her.  Leadership interactions enable each individual to understand what the organization needs from him or her, how each person fits into the plan, and what she or he is expected to do.

When the leadership climate is healthy, life in one’s local environment is experienced as somewhat predictable. This lowers cognitive load and offers a sense of safety. Local climate conditions across the organization combine into a complex organizing system that satisfies to varying degrees the predicates that define success for the organization within its ecosystem and for each individual who depends upon its success.

For an individual consultation about your organization, contact us today.