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‘What is the system doing to me, and what am I doing to the system?’ and ‘what are the social forces to which I am exposed at work that shape my leadership performance?’ were two of the many questions that Surrey Fellows were recently invited to explore, as part of a workshop run by Dr William Tate, Director of the Institute for Systemic Leadership.

Participants were invited to work on the systemic ideas in the context of their own organizations - challenging stuff, particularly when the implications are subject to deep reflection and challenge by supportive peers.

Fellows who had attended an earlier introductory seminar were invited to attend the workshop Improving leadership from a systemic perspective. In order for an organisation to be well led as a whole, Dr Tate demonstrated how clues to systemic leadership were located in the organisation’s gaps, spaces, interconnections and relationships, not in individuals themselves. Using the popular fishtank analogy, participants were invited to explore the dirty water for remedial action, and not simply notice and fix problems with the fish.

networkIt was a lively afternoon, with rich contributions from participants. There was much expertise in the room yet everyone got involved, and the discussion was notable for its geniality and courtesy.

Everyone expressed their thanks to RSA Fellow Dr Tate for giving his time so generously and for sharing valuable insights into leadership in organisational contexts. Fellows left the workshop with a deeper understanding of how leadership practice is informed by a systemic perspective, and how they could take this forward in their own leadership roles

The splendid venue of Hampton Court House was kindly made available by headmaster Guy Holloway, a Fellow of the RSA.

For more information contact Joanna Massie, Regional Programme Manager for the South East.


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