Migrating to Relational Leadership

By Fran Lyon-Dugin Ph.DSCC project manager, change agent, organizational management and leadership, ethics in leadership, merger management



Everyone in the Midwest notices birds and their migratory patterns, as we are in the direct path of north to south and vice versa. If you study birds, you know that birds migrate to move from areas of low or decreasing resources to those having better resources for food and nesting. This makes a great metaphor for the current migration happening in the area of professional leadership. The volume and speed of information, diversity and dispersion of the workforce, opportunities for innovation, national and global interdependence and other factors have made it impossible for a leader to be able to vision, strategize and manage all of the resources needed to be competitive in today’s business environment. A leader now needs to learn to work in relationship with all of her stakeholders in order to maximize resources--what is referred to as “relational leading.”

In relational leading, we give up the view of the organization as a stable, well-oiled machine, and see it instead as an ever-evolving, organic system of relationships, full of constant change, innovation, and increasing complexity. For today’s leader, new skills are required to facilitate, organize, and participate effectively in relational processes. Leaders need to learn new skills that enhance communication and coordinated action. They now have a new role as participants in meaning-making in which they need to value and honor the relational process. They need to learn how to ask different questions, provide different types of feedback, and expand their view.

The benefits of relational leading are many: It’s well suited to the emerging world conditions of complex and fast information flow, increased complexity and multiplicity. It creates processes that continually evolve through effective relationships and co-creation. Organizations have greater ability to respond to innovation and change, and people are more highly engaged in the process. They realize they are not just a performer of tasks, but that along with other stakeholders, they are vital to the continual co-creation and evolution of the fluid process. This creates a more energetic, dynamic environment for everyone.

Stay tuned for new SCC training in relational leading currently being planned for fall of 2018 so you can participate in the migration!