LEADERS DON’T HAVE TO EMBRACE HIERARCHY: THEY CAN CONSIDER HOLOCRACY
You may have read my subject line today and responded with “What the heck is a Holocracy?”
You are not alone. When I was younger, I had no idea what that word meant. Actually it is a fascinating leadership concept.
The definition of Holocracy is a method of decentralized leadership and management which claims to distribute governance and decision making through a holarchy of self -organizing teams rather than being vested in a management hierarchy.
This approach can only work in certain venues, but I have seen it work successfully in organizations both large and small.
In these situations, the job of the leader is to create systems and cultures of accountability in service of the overall mission. The mission creates clarity and motivation for all team members.
Thus, when the work is transparently owned and explained by the teammate who owns it, there is inherent accountability in the system itself without needing carrots or sticks wielded by those with greater authority.
As described by my fellow coach Pam Krulitz, such organizations are characterized by:
-Roles with clear purpose and accountabilities that are transparent, explicitly filled and agreed to by the persons filling them, and that can evolve through a governance process
-Clear projects and action items that energize the purpose of the role, initiated by the roll-filler or upon request by someone else
-Regular tactical meetings where the purpose, checklists, metrics, and projects are reviewed and explained by the person who owns them
-The opportunity for anyone else to raise a “tension” – make a request – based upon what they’ve heard and what was explained
-In this system, direct reports are not reporting out to bosses but everyone is filling roles in a circle reporting out to each other
Pam believes that the rules and tools of holocracy create a system and culture of accountability – accountability to ourselves and to others – for everyone in the organization.
As she pointed out, even organizations that cannot fully adopt this model can utilize some of its basic tools to help any leader develop a system of greater accountability.
Can you see any tools here that will help you serve as a more effective leader at your organization?