The host and the manager – keeping inbetween in an emergent world

22 Feb

I (Mark) run an online course with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Solutions Focus Business Professional.  Over 16 weeks we cover all kinds of aspects of the SF approach relating to management and coaching, with a worldwide group – it’s a fantastic experience.  One of the readings is my Leader as Host, Host as Leader paper.  Krassimir Yanev, one of our participants from Bulgaria (pictured right), offered this great summary connecting the manager as host with the idea of ‘Inbetween’ from The Solutions Focus book:

“The metaphor of a leader as a host bears close resemblance to SF practice at least in two particulars: a) In-between state of existence and b) The emergent nature of things.

Being in-between, both the host and the manager:

A) Have power but certainly not all the power.

B) Are responsible for how things turn out but do not have all the tools.

C) Are in the limelight but need to share it with others.

D) Have more responsibility than authority.

E) Juggle a lot of balls at the same time, managing imperceptibly the space, invitees and all other elements that may enter the space – invited or not.

F) Shine but create environment for others to shine.

G) Wear a few hats at the same time.

In short, everything is In-between things persons, spaces etc.

About the emergent nature of things: Managing the four polarities outlined in the article and walking the tight rope between the different centers of gravity outlined above define a very fluid situation, which cannot be predicted in advance even in the most carefully orchestrated party or, for that matter, in the most strictly managed company.”

Thank you Krassimir!  What a great summary of the dance of the manager as host, keeping going in an uncertain and ever-changing world.

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One Response to “The host and the manager – keeping inbetween in an emergent world”

  1. Alan Kay February 22, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Great insights from Krassimir, thanks. I believe that we are beginning to see that there’s an economic argument for the leader as host.

    I was talking yesterday with the chief economist of a large Canadian bank and he talked about how their CEO operates on the belief that what’s good for the Canadian people is good for the bank. The bank is exceptionally well run and is a profit leader in the sector.

    What used to look to many like ‘fluff’ as a leadership approach is now starting to make sense.

    I’d add to Krassimir’s list the ability for the leader as host to be able to make difficult decisions on behalf of their team and significant stakeholders. The decisions would be about the future state not the present one (which the leader as host would delegate).

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