Knowledge centre

Question for leaders  |  19 July 2023

“What leadership does a self-managing team as a whole require and who carries it out?”

Systemic leader Barbara Hoogenboom:

“Systems need order. If it is clear in an organizational system who has which place in the order, who has which tasks, then people can rely on each other. He’s this, so I’m that. If we don’t have to figure this out, no energy is wasted.

Systems also need this to be clear: you come before me. Or in what we do for our customers, your share comes first. A work planner in construction comes before the carpenter.

We also know a hierarchical order: people in a higher position can make decisions that people in a lower position cannot make.

If you know that systems thrive with a clear order, how should you do that in self-managing teams?

In self-managing or self-organizing teams you have no hierarchical order. There are other orders in such a team. There may be a difference in the number of years of experience. In age. In the number of years that someone has worked for an organization. Yet the system demands more.

The 3 pillars of systemic leadership (Agens, Communio and professional strength) can bring direction and order within self-managing teams.

A self-managing team could agree on where the Agens power lies. These are the people who provide autonomy, direction, identity, contact with the outside world.

Each team also needs a Communio force. Someone who takes care of the inner world, that everything runs smoothly, that all facilities work, that the schedules are completed, that the computers work, that there are supplies, that rest is taken and that mutual relationships are nurtured.

And every team needs someone to worry about the core tasks of the team and the professional knowledge for which that team exists. That what the team offers to their customers or their colleagues when it comes to an internal support team.

This division creates that clarity on order, functions and guiding principles that is also of great value within self-managing teams.”

This question comes from the Systemic Leadership Fan. This fan contains 224 questions on 45 themes. Every question has the potential to help you in your systemic leadership.

Barbara Hoogenboom

Leader Systemic Business School


Systemic Business School

Systemic Business School gives leaders completely new tools for their leadership style. When you work from the connectedness of the whole, you will find it easier and more enjoyable to achieve your goals, together with your team and organization. Systemic leadership helps you to continue your journey as a leader with inspiration and energy.

Our trainers have worked with leaders from a variety of organizations: