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Jan, 2021

Systemic leadership: 3 missions, 3 paradoxes, 3 postures and 12 skills

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Management in the 21st century is moving towards systemic leadership. This article invites us to reflect on how to move from hierarchical to systemic.


Today, managers in many organizations are taking a more systemic view of leadership. This implies knowing how to carry out three main missions:

Three missions

strategic positioning (guiding and innovating)

work organization (structure and clarify)

performance management (motivate and accomplish)



To carry out these three missions, a leader must face three paradoxes.

Three paradoxes

First, he must take into account the individual needs of internal and external actors, who are increasingly numerous and diverse, while promoting the mobilization of collective intelligence. Secondly, it must allow each individual to develop while ensuring that performance is maintained. It is a question of reconciling human and economic aspects in the context of performance management. Thirdly, it must meet the organization’s current needs (short term) while anticipating its future needs (long term).



To conduct these three missions and to solve these three paradoxical injunctions, there are three postures, based on twelve key skills.

Three postures

The posture of the consultant

The consultant’s posture aims at clarifying and organizing the work; it relies on cognitive intelligence and allows to solve the first paradox (individual vs. collective). It requires the following key competencies: systemic vision, solution orientation, analysis capacity, results orientation.

The coaching posture

The coaching posture is based on emotional intelligence and allows to respond appropriately to the second paradox (produce vs. involve). Here, the leader allows each person to use and develop all his or her resources. To do this, he must possess these four key skills: feedback, openness, assertiveness and active listening.

The intrapreneurial posture

Finally, the intrapreneurial posture is based on the ability to anticipate and communicate, in other words, on the transformational potential. It takes care of short-term needs and objectives, without forgetting the long-term vision, and thus responds to the last paradox (short-term vs. long-term). The key skills of this posture are: anticipation, communication, digital acuity, and continuous improvement.


To learn more about our vision of systemic leadership, download our white paper “The metamorphosis of leadership” Download the white paper

Nicolas Quoëx, co-founder of Skillspotting, gives his point of view on the evolution of leadership, raises questions and takes a step back to allow managers to take their full place in this metamorphosis. His reflections are based on the experience he has gained from coaching more than 250 managers, teams and organizations, and on the analysis of numerous articles and books.