Leading From Within
Back to Programs

Leading from Within

Workshop 1 - The Leader as a Culture Developer

Workshop 2 - The Leader as a Builder of Desire

Workshop 3 - The Leader as a Thinker

Workshop 4 - The Leader as a Systems Strategist

Workshop 5 - The Leader as a Doer


Leading From Within

Workshop 1 - The Leader as a Culture Developer


This first workshop will explore the big picture of leadership.  It will show how one’s position in the structure of an organisation, typically a pyramid, influences behaviour and what you can do about it.   The workshop will examine how structure and shape underpin culture and how different shapes can support greater collaboration.  It will demonstrate the very real benefits for leaders and managers who can work with these different shapes in mind.

Chris Argyris wrote extensively on the problems of “pyramidal” leadership and organisational culture thirty years ago.   Although the term pyramidal is not commonly used you may be familiar with other terms that describe the same behaviours; old paradigm, Model I, and command and control.  Pyramids exist in people’s minds as well as in the organisation chart.  We carry the structure with us whenever we meet someone from the same organisation.  Are they above us?  Are they on the same level?  Or below? 

Action methods, including organisational constellation, sculpture and sociometry allow people to have a new non-verbal experience of how shape and structure influence behaviour.  This new perspective allows managers to entertain different structures and shapes, for example ‘parabolic’, that better support collaborative behaviour.  There is great overlap between leaders who display parabolic leadership and those described as enabling, transformational, facilitative, new paradigm, Model II and distributive.

We believe managers can, and need to, work with both structures and shapes concurrently.  Many people can hold and appreciate both a geocentric view (our everyday experience of the sun moving around the earth expressed in the terms sunrise and sunset) and a solar centric view, (the reality of the earth spinning around the sun) of our solar system.  In a similar way thoughtful managers can apply and benefit from the principles of Parabolic Leadership in a predominately pyramidal culture.     

This makes it easier to understand how significant change can occur anywhere within an organisation.  Change does not have to begin at the top.  Ideally it does, but parabolic structures can and do flourish alongside more traditional structures.  

Leaders who participate in this workshop will: