what does leadership look like?
April 17, 2006
The director of the conference I attended in France made a short presentation at the last session in which he encapsulated what he and the management had been doing for the 8 days of our experience.
“We have been managing boundaries, not policing rules”
That’s the most concise description of management and leadership I have ever come across. If we’re managing boundaries then we are on the edge of difference. If we’re policing rules then we are imposing conformity. All problems in systems are caused by an attempt to control someone else’s actions and behaviours. Attempting to police those situations more often than not results in the suppression of difference and generates the fantasy of collaboration. If we’re brave enough to accept that difference exists and is enriching and is part and parcel of all systems, then the task becomes one of managing and engaging with that difference. If there is room for difference then there can be a realistic and authentic agreement to move forward from that perspective. That, to me, sounds like a more authentic form of consensus than an imposed “rule” that we all have to be the same.