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Companies without Managers (BBC radio 4)

Who's your boss? Peter Day explores how three different companies, in three different countries, do business without managers. Who hires and fires? And how do you get a pay rise? He asks how these radical organisations emerged, and whether other companies may follow their lead.

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By David Archer, over 3 years ago

Leadership without leaders?
I really enjoyed this broadcast - and reading the work of Frederic Laloux on which it is based. It really got me thinking about the skills of leadership – as distinct from organisational roles with the title of ‘Leader’ or Head of’. In Laloux’s book (Re-inventing Organisations) he talks about successful self-managed organisations having a clear evolutionary purpose and basing their strategies on “what they sense the world is asking from them.” He also says that they thrive because they “create an environment wherein people feel free to fully express themselves, bringing unprecedented levels of energy, passion, and creativity to work.” These are challenges for any organisation – it’s not that the leadership challenges are any less in a self-managed organisation it’s rather that they are shared across a great many people – potentially the whole workforce. And that makes for many more opportunities for people to learn leadership lessons from one another and to adapt new solutions which suit local conditions. But does it mean that self managed organisations require much higher levels of leadership skill across all their members - and does that come from their selection processes or from their investment in leadership development.
I'd be really interested to hear from anyone with practical experience in working in any of the organisations mentioned in the programme and in the book.

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