The Leadership Paradox: Coveted Roles, Hidden Regrets

Ever wondered about the hidden truth of leadership roles? While they’re often seen as the pinnacle of professional success, the reality is that many leaders secretly wish they could step away. What’s causing this paradox, and how can we challenge the unspoken rules of business to address it? Let’s dive into the surprising dilemma faced by those at the top.

Isn’t it peculiar that the very roles folks strive for often become the ones they wish to escape? It’s the conundrum many in leadership find themselves in. They’ve climbed the ladder, gained the title, yet the reality of their positions is not as rosy as the image portrayed. Why’s this so?

The shared assumptions and beliefs within most businesses and societies paint leadership roles as the pinnacle of success. Yet, once in these positions, individuals often find them fraught with stress, long hours, a level of responsibility that can be overwhelming, and the implicit pressure to be mean to people. They’re bogged down by bureaucracy, and the freedom they envisaged is replaced with countless meetings, conflict resolution, and pressure to meet targets.

Yet, these same businesses’ cultures trap these individuals, creating a perception that stepping down or moving sideways would equate to failure. There’s a sense of being ‘stuck’, a lack of alternatives within the existing organisational structure. The irony is bitter: the very roles they once coveted have become ones they’d rather not hold, but the unwritten mores of business leave them feeling there’s no way out. It’s a dilemma that underscores the need for reimagining how we view success and leadership in our workplaces.

Challenging Traditional Roles in the Age of Self-Organisation and Intrinsic Motivation

Do traditional hierarchical roles such as “Development Manager” or “Director of Software Engineering” genuinely cater to the progressive needs of contemporary businesses?

In light of the evolution of the field, where the principles of auftragstaktik have fostered self-organisation and collaboration, supplanting rigid command-and-control structures, do these roles maintain their relevance? Or do they potentially create barriers to effectiveness and innovation?

In a world that takes a leaf from Dan Pink’s “Drive”, promoting autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the pillars of intrinsic motivation, what does it mean to be a “Development Manager” or a “Director of Software Engineering”? Are these roles becoming mere vestiges of a past era, where top-down mandates were the norm, rather than fostering an environment that nurtures intrinsic motivation?

How can these positions be reformulated or reinterpreted to better fit the ethos of modern organisations, aligning more with the principles of auftragstaktik, which emphasizes initiative and adaptability? Are we clinging to an outdated nomenclature that no longer mirrors the reality of how work is executed? Is it time to reconsider how we define relationships and roles within the context of the workplace?

Are these positions truly adding value, or are they merely relics of an outdated mindset? Is it time we reassess the structures we’ve come to accept, and explore new paradigms that inspire innovation and growth?

Why is True Fellowship So Rare, Especially in Tech?

Why is fellowship in organisations, particularly in tech companies, such a rare phenomenon, and yet when it does emerge, it’s immensely powerful? What are the factors that make it so elusive, and conversely, the elements that make it thrive when it does manifest?

In the world of technology, competition and individualism often take centre stage, overshadowing the potential benefits of collaboration and fellowship. Could it be that the pressure to innovate, coupled with the race to stay ahead of the curve, pushes people to focus more on their individual achievements and personal wellbeing rather than the collective good?

There’s also the issue of diverse backgrounds and skill sets. With experts in various fields such as engineering, design, marketing, and more, it’s possible that this diversity might inadvertently create silos. Do these specialised domains lead to a lack of understanding and empathy among team members, preventing the formation of a cohesive, supportive environment?

And yet, when fellowship does take root within tech organisations, its power is undeniable. Why is that? Could it be that the amalgamation of diverse perspectives, skills, and experiences in a collaborative environment leads to breakthroughs and innovations that might otherwise be impossible? When individuals work together, for example with Ensemble Working, sharing their knowledge and challenging one another’s ideas, they pave the way for novel solutions and approaches.

Perhaps another reason for the potency of fellowship in tech companies is the sheer complexity of the problems they tackle. The adage “two heads are better than one” rings true, as the collective intelligence of a group working in harmony often surpasses that of even the brightest individual. In an environment where fellowship thrives, team members can rely on each other’s strengths, ultimately yielding better results.

So, why is fellowship so rare in tech organisations? It appears that the competitive nature of the industry, coupled with the diversity of skills and backgrounds, might pose challenges to fostering a collaborative environment. However, when such an environment does emerge, it unlocks the potential for innovation, breakthroughs, and success that are unparalleled in their impact. Thus organisations maigh choose to recognise and nurture the power of #fellowship to stay ahead in an ever-evolving commercial landscape.

The Meaning Of Fellowship

Fellowship – what does it truly mean in practice? Is it merely a group of individuals working in harmony like a well-tuned orchestra, or does it go deeper than that? Can we compare it to a swarm of bees, working tirelessly for the greater good of the hive? What is the secret sauce that transforms a group of individuals into a cohesive unit, bound by a shared purpose?

In practice, fellowship is the art of collaboration, where each person contributes their unique skills and expertise towards a common goal. Picture a jigsaw puzzle – each piece, although different, fits together perfectly to create a beautiful image. Similarly, members of a group bring their individual strengths and abilities to create a collective masterpiece.

Fellowship is also akin to a tapestry, weaving together diverse threads to create a strong, unified fabric. Each thread represents a team member’s background, perspective, and experience. When interwoven, these threads create a more robust and resilient fabric than if each strand stood alone.

But how does one foster such an environment? Communication, trust, and empathy are essential ingredients. Imagine a sports team – it’s not enough for each player to excel in their position. They must communicate effectively, trust in their teammates’ abilities, and empathise with one another to truly succeed.

In the workplace, fellowship might manifest in group conversations where everyone’s ideas are heard and valued, or in a supportive environment where colleagues offer assistance to one another without hesitation, even at the expense of their own personal goals and wellbeing. Fellowship is the alchemy of individual talent and collaborative spirit that propels a group towards success.

So, what does #fellowship mean in practice? It’s the orchestra playing in harmony, the bees working for the hive, the jigsaw puzzle pieces fitting together, and the threads of a tapestry woven into a unified whole. It’s the magic that transforms a group of individuals into a powerful force for change and innovation.

Ten Examples of Fellowship in Action

Fellowship enhances success across a broad range of industries, as it fosters innovation, growth, and effectiveness through collaboration and open communication. Notable examples of fellowship include:

1. Google: Encourages innovation through fellowship by fostering cross-functional collaboration and an open environment for idea sharing.
2. Pixar: Builds a culture of fellowship by promoting open communication and active participation in the creative process.
3. Southwest Airlines: Puts fellowship at the heart of customer service, ensuring its people work together for the best customer experience.
4. The New York Times: Reinvents journalism through embracing fellowship, which enables adaptation to digital transformation.
5. NASA: Harnesses the power of fellowship to achieve success in space exploration, relying on extensive collaboration among numerous professionals.
6. Apple: Utilises fellowship in creating iconic products by valuing input from various teams and promoting collaboration.
7. Starbucks: Embraces fellowship for delivering a consistent customer experience, fostering a strong sense of teamwork among its people.
8. Tesla: Drives innovation through fellowship by promoting collaborative problem-solving and breaking down departmental silos.
9. Netflix: Utilises fellowship in collaborative decision-making for strategic success, valuing diverse perspectives and ideas.
10. Zappos: Builds a culture of empowerment and fellowship, focusing on exceptional customer service through collaboration.

By implementing the principles of effective #fellowship, organisations can thrive in a competitive landscape.


Will organisations ever truly recognise the benefits of #fellowship over traditional management and leadership approaches? Is it possible for organisations to adapt and embrace this more collaborative, egalitarian way of working? As we delve into the psychology of fellowship, it’s worth considering whether this could hold the key to unlocking the full potential of a workforce.

Fellowship, at its core, involves fostering a sense of camaraderie, trust, and mutual support within a group. But can this sense of unity actually lead to greater success within an organisation? Studies in social psychology have shown that individuals who feel part of a cohesive group are more likely to be motivated, engaged, and productive. Doesn’t this suggest that there’s merit in exploring the value of fellowship over traditional hierarchical structures?

It’s worth asking, then, whether organisations have become too reliant on the status quo models of management and leadership. Are they missing out on the advantages that come from embracing fellowship? Are they overlooking the potential for increased innovation, flexibility, and resilience that can stem from a more cooperative and supportive environment?

Of course, one might question whether organisations can actually make the shift towards embracing fellowship. Is it possible for them to break away from deeply ingrained hierarchies and power dynamics? Can they overcome the resistance and skepticism that often accompany change, particularly when it challenges their norms, their shared assumptions and beliefs?

Moreover, how can organisations ensure that they don’t lose the necessary structure and direction that management and leadership provide? Is there a way to strike the right balance between the two approaches, allowing for both effective decision-making and the empowerment of individuals within the organisation?

Is it worth us pondering whether organisations will ever truly recognise the potential benefits of fellowship over traditional management and leadership?

By considering the psychology of fellowship, we may uncover insights that could ultimately reshape the way we approach organisational dynamics and success.

Leadership Lessons from ‘How to Train Your Dragon’​

“How to Train Your Dragon” is a 2010 animated film which tells the story of Hiccup, a young Viking, for whom dragons are seen as fearsome enemies.

Despite this, Hiccup eventually befriends a dragon named Toothless. Through his journey, Hiccup learns valuable lessons about leadership, teamwork, and the importance of understanding and accepting others.

One of the key themes in “How to Train Your Dragon” is the power of collaboration and teamwork. In the beginning of the film, Hiccup is a loner who is struggling to fit in with his peers and prove himself as a capable warrior. However, as he begins to work with Toothless and other dragons, he learns the value of cooperation and mutual respect.

This message is highly relevant to the business world, where collaboration and teamwork are essential to success.

Another important lesson from “How to Train Your Dragon” is the importance of understanding and acceptance. Throughout the film, Hiccup struggles to understand Toothless and other dragons, and initially sees them as threats to his community. However, as he gets to know Toothless and learns about the dragons’ behavior and needs, he realises that they are not as different from humans as he thought. He comes to see that dragons are intelligent and emotional creatures, and that they can be treated with respect and understanding.

This message is also applicable to the business world, where people can choose to understand and accept their colleagues, peers and customers, regardless of their differences. By creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace culture, companies can foster a sense of belonging and support. This leads to better communication and collaboration, as well as higher levels of morale, productivity and engagement.

In addition to collaboration and understanding, “How to Train Your Dragon” also touches on the importance of leadership and empowerment. Throughout the film, Hiccup takes on a leadership role, guiding Toothless and other dragons in their training and helping them to become more confident and capable. He encourages them to take risks and be independent, and trusts them to make their own decisions.

This type of leadership is conspicuous by its absence in most of the business world. By giving people the freedom to take ownership of their work and explore new ideas, companies can create a culture of innovation and excellence.

Overall, “How to Train Your Dragon” is a powerful and inspiring film that teaches valuable lessons about business culture. By highlighting the importance of collaboration, understanding, and leadership, the film encourages viewers to embrace diversity, communicate effectively, and work together towards a common goal.

A New Era for Workplace Dynamics?

💡 Are organisations ready to break free from the constraints of conventional leadership and embrace a future where everyone’s voice is heard? Consider the transformative potential of a collaborative work culture.

➡ As business organisations evolve, those in positions of influence may choose to reconsider traditional notions of directing and guiding work. Embracing a paradigm shift away from conventional hierarchical structures will foster a more collaborative and inclusive environment, wherein everyone contributes to the decision-making process.

In this new landscape, individuals who previously held supervisory roles may choose to focus on cultivating collective intelligence and facilitating open communication. This will be achieved by encouraging people to share ideas, opinions, and feedback openly, while also being receptive to diverse perspectives. By fostering a culture of trust, respect, and empathy, those in influential positions can create a more empowering and dynamic work atmosphere.

To successfully navigate this transformation, those who once held command may choose to develop and promote skills in active listening, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence. These capabilities will allow people to support and guide without exerting authority or control. They may also choose to embrace and promote continuous learning and adaptability, as these traits are crucial for thriving in a rapidly changing world.

Ultimately, the transition away from traditional management and leadership roles necessitates a shift in mindset and culture, wherein individuals focus on empowering others, fostering collaboration, and nurturing a culture of shared ownership and responsibility. By embracing these changes, organisations can unlock the full potential of their people, driving innovation and success.


Master the Art of Relationships with the 11 Pillars of Fellowship

💡 Do you want to build stronger, more meaningful relationships with the people in your life? Look no further than the 11 Pillars of #Fellowship – a set of principles that can transform the way you interact with others.

➡ The 11 pillars of fellowship are a set of principles that guide individuals towards building and maintaining meaningful relationships with others. These pillars encompass a range of qualities and behaviors that foster trust, understanding, and collaboration between individuals. The principles of the 11 pillars of fellowship are essential in developing positive interactions with people in settings including work, teaming, and community. By embracing these principles, individuals and groups can promote a more peaceful, tolerant, and connected society.

1. Empathy ❤️ The ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.
2. Respect 🙏 The recognition and appreciation of another person’s values, beliefs, and opinions.
3. Nonviolence 🕊️ The commitment to resolving conflicts and differences without resorting to physical or emotional harm.
4. Trust ✌️ The belief in the reliability, truthfulness, and integrity of another person.
5. Communication 💬 The exchange of information and ideas through listening, speaking, and writing.
6. Tolerance 🌈 The acceptance and appreciation of diversity, even in the face of disagreement or opposition.
7. Openness 🌟 The willingness to share one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences with others.
8. Flexibility 🧘‍♀️ The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and be open to new ideas and approaches.
9. Collaboration 🤝 The working together towards a common goal or purpose.
10. Service 🙌 The commitment to contributing to the well-being of others and society as a whole.
11. Continuous Learning 📚 The recognition of the value of ongoing education, personal growth, and development.

The 11 pillars of fellowship are a powerful framework for building and maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships with others. By incorporating these principles into our daily interactions with others, we can create a more compassionate, tolerant, and connected world. Ultimately, the 11 pillars of fellowship offer a pathway towards building stronger relationships with people in our personal and professional lives, promoting mutual understanding and respect, and fostering greater harmony.

Another Dark Aspect of Agile: The Erasure of Contributions

💡 The Agile community has some kudos for promoting collaboration and its revisionary approach to software development. But lurking beneath the surface lies a hidden crisis stalling progress: the deliberate dismissal of invaluable contributions from its very own members.

➡ While the Agile community has made some notable contributions to software development and project management, it’s important to acknowledge that it isn’t without its flaws. One issue that many people don’t discuss is the intentional act of hiding, erasing, and ignoring contributions made by current and former members. These issues contribute to the stultification of the whole field of software development, hindering its growth and improvement.

Addressing this issue requires understanding the community’s strong focus on collaboration and teamwork. The Agile Manifesto itself emphasises “individuals and interactions over processes and tools,” which, at its core, promotes the importance of people and their relationships. However, in practice, this mindset sometimes leads to an environment where individual contributions are overshadowed by the status quo. This can stifle the innovation and creativity needed for software development to evolve beyond the narrow confines of the Agile approach.

Moreover, a more sinister aspect of this erasure exists. Some prominent figures within the Agile community focus more on maintaining their status and reputation, rather than nurturing a healthy, progressive environment. This behavior leads to the intentional sidelining of members who have made significant contributions, especially if they challenge the status quo or introduce innovative ideas that could potentially outshine the work of established figures. This self-serving attitude has stagnated the Agile approach by suppressing diverse perspectives and fresh ideas.

The Agile community might choose to confront this issue, as it contradicts the very principles it represents. The community might choose to cultivate a more inclusive and transparent environment that recognises and uplifts the contributions of all its members, regardless of their background or standing.

As members of the software development community, we might choose to actively advocate for those whose contributions have been ignored, and support a culture of openness and genuine collaboration. By doing so, we can ensure that the software development community continues to evolve beyond the Agile approach, embraces diverse ideas, and continues to progress in a healthy, positive direction.

Fellowship As Protest

Relationship-building is an undervalued but vital tool in the arsenal of the modern-day employee. It is not enough to simply march in the streets or hold a sign aloft; building connections with like-minded individuals and fostering a sense of community is essential to creating lasting change. However, many businesses today actively work to undermine relationship-building in the workplace, promoting division and competition among employees at the expense of cooperation and collaboration.

This insidiousness can take many forms, from pitting employees against each other for promotions to encouraging a toxic work culture that values individual achievement over teamwork. But through active relationship-building, we protest against these destructive practices and create a workplace that values fellowship, cooperation and solidarity.

By forging connections with our fellow employees and working to create a sense of community, we challenge the dominant narrative of competition and individualism. This is not just a matter of improving our own working conditions; it is a powerful form of protest that strikes at the very heart of the capitalist system that pits workers against each other for the benefit of the few.

So let us not underestimate the power of fellowship as a form of protest. By standing together and fostering a sense of community in the workplace, we can create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.

Unveiling the Magic of Organisational Psychotherapy: How External Support Networks Empower Positive Change

Organisational psychotherapy is a holistic approach to culture change within an organisation by focusing on shared assumptions and beliefs. .One way to support this process is through an external support network, which can provide additional resources and expertise to accompany the organisation through its psychotherapy journey.

An external support network is a community of organisations that share their experiences, best practices, and challenges with each other. This community can include other companies in the same industry, consultants, and other professionals who can provide guidance and support.

One of the primary roles of an external support network in organisational psychotherapy is to provide a sounding board for the organisation. It can be difficult for employees and leaders within an organisation to identify the root causes of problems or to determine the best course of action to address them. By sharing their experiences and challenges, organisations can gain new insights and perspectives on their issues, and can learn from the successes and failures of others.

An external support network can also provide access to additional resources and expertise that an organisation may not have on its own. This can help the organisation to develop more effective solutions and strategies for action.

Another role of an external support network in organisational psychotherapy is to provide a sense of community and support. Psychotherapy can be a challenging and emotional process for organisations, and having a network of people who understand what the organisation is going through can provide a sense of validation and encouragement. Members of the network can offer advice, encouragement, and moral support to help the organisation stay focused and motivated.

Finally, an external support network can help to promote accountability and transparency within the organisation. By sharing their experiences with others in the network, organisations are held accountable for their actions and are more likely to be transparent about their decision-making processes. This can help to build trust and credibility with employees and other stakeholders, and can create a more positive and productive experience.

In conclusion, an external support network can play a crucial role in supporting an organisation through the psychotherapy process. By providing a sounding board, access to additional resources and expertise, a sense of community and support, and promoting accountability and transparency, these networks can help organisations to address their challenges and create a more positive and productive experience. Whether formal or informal, these networks are an important tool for any organisation that is committed to using organisational psychotherapy to create positive change.

Say Goodbye to Dysfunctional Management: Time to Adopt a New Approach

Dysfunctional management is a growing problem in modern businesses, but many organisations still choose to pretend that it does not exist.

Management is often seen as the solution to complex problems, but the reality is that it is not always effective. In fact, research has shown that a significant percentage of management practices are dysfunctional, and the impact of this dysfunction is both quantifiable and significant.

According to Prof. Gary Hamel, a leading expert in management, only 10% of management practices are considered effective, while the remaining 90% are dysfunctional. This dysfunction is characterised by a lack of creativity, a lack of accountability, and an inability to lead effectively. In addition, many management practices are based on outdated assumptions and are not in line with the changing needs of the workforce.

The impact of dysfunctional management is significant, and can be seen in the form of low morale, high turnover, and reduced productivity. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that companies with high levels of employee engagement and low levels of turnover outperformed their peers by up to 147%. In addition, companies with engaged employees were found to be 21% more profitable than those with low levels of employee engagement.

The concept of management itself is also questionable, as it is based on the assumption that managers are better equipped to lead than other employees. However, this is rarely the case, as many managers are not trained in leadership or do not possess the necessary skills to effectively manage their teams. As a result, many organisations find themselves struggling to achieve their goals and to maintain their competitive edge.

Given the problems associated with dysfunctional management, it may be time to consider abandoning management entirely. Instead, organisations could adopt a different approach, such as the SAS (Special Air Service) approach used by the British Special Forces. This approach emphasises fellowship, collaboration, flexibility, and adaptability, and encourages individuals to take ownership. By adopting this approach, organisations can ensure that their employees are engaged, motivated, and committed to achieving their goals.

In conclusion,let’s not pretend that dysfunctional management does not exist. The impact of this dysfunction is quantifiable and significant, and it’s well past time for organisations to consider alternative approaches. By adopting alternative approaches, organisations can build a culture of collaboration, creativity, and accountability, and can ensure that employees are engaged and motivated. It is time to abandon management and embrace a new, more effective approach.

Stepping Away From the Meat-grinder: Joining the Campaign For a Just And Fair World

I don’t have a regular job because I just can’t stand the insanity of it all any more. Is that my loss or the world’s?

The world of work is a meat-grinder, a place where the only thing that matters is ego, violence and stupidity. It’s a place where the only thing that counts is one’s ability to serve oneself, to cosy down and protect one’s own interests to the exclusion of all else. I can’t live like that.

I can’t stand the way that people are treated like nothing more than numbers, like nothing more than cogs in a machine, like so many adjuncts of a Borg unimatrix.

Similar to how Gandhi couldn’t stand the deep injustices and intolerability of British imperial rule in India, I can’t stand the world of work as it is now. He stepped away from his comfortable life to fight for what he believed in. Similarly, I have stepped away from the world of traditional wage-slavery to pursue other avenues, other ways of making a difference in the world.

I don’t know if my decision is a loss for me, or for the world. I just know that I can’t continue to be an acquiescing adjunct to something that I find so deeply troubling and unjust. I have little expectation that in the future, the corporate world will change, that it will become a place where people are valued for the content of their character and their heart, not for how much money they can make. But for now, I know that I need to step away, and that’s what I have done. I suspect I’m not by any means alone.

#work #culture #change #people #justice #insanity

Navigating the Top Ten Challenges of Fellowship: Building a Strong, Cohesive Team

In light of the definition of fellowship as a community or group of individuals who share similar interests or goals, and come together to support and encourage each other in their pursuits, here’s a top ten of challenges for fellows in the context of a self-organising and self-managing team or group in the workplace:

  1. Building trust and cohesion among team members.
  2. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities.
  3. Managing and resolving conflicts within the team.
  4. Maintaining clear and effective communication among all members.
  5. Setting and achieving common goals.
  6. Managing changes within the team and adjusting to new members.
  7. Maintaining motivation and engagement among team members.
  8. Balancing individual and team goals.
  9. Managing and addressing underperformance within the team.
  10. Continuously improving the team’s processes and practices.


Particular structures for communities and groups are pretty much irrelevant. For example, teams.

It’s the relationships within communities or groups that matter.

Although, certain kinds of structure are more friendly towards enabling relationships to emerge and grow.

%d bloggers like this: