Become a spirited leader by encouraging self-management


Growing your leadership into the next stage of consciousness - part 1

A new organisational paradigm is slowly but steadily developing as leaders today are tired of power games, infighting and experiencing an overall sense of emptiness. In this article of a 3-part-series we’ll explore the first principle of the TEAL organisation: self-management.

The new Teal organisation identified by Frédéric Laloux, an independent advisor and author of Reinventing Organisations: a guide to creating organisations inspired by the next stage of human consciousness, is built on three pillars:

  • Self-management
  • Wholeness
  • Evolutionary purpose


Teal organisations operate effectively, even at a large scale, with a system based on peer relationships. They set up structures and practices in which people have high autonomy in their domain and are accountable for coordinating with others. Power and control are deeply embedded throughout the organisations and are no longer tied to the specific positions of a few top leaders.

Self-managing practices

Buurtzorg, a Dutch nursing care provider with 9,000 employees, has incorporated Teal management structures and practices and are very successful in doing so.

The teams monitor their own performance and take corrective action if productivity drops. They don’t have team leaders. Instead, management tasks are spread across the members, all of whom are nurses.

Newly recruited team members take a course called Solution-Driven Methods of Interaction, during which they learn sophisticated listening and communication skills; techniques for running meetings and making decisions; and methods of coaching one another and providing perspective.

The nurses do their own recruiting. They also arrange for purchasing and contracting specialised medical or legal expertise when needed. They align with the larger organisation not through rules and procedures, but through the collaboration
methods they’ve learned. A powerful internal social network allows them to draw on guidance and medical expertise from fellow nurses all around the country.

How can you practise this in your workplace?

As a middle or senior leader you can start moving towards a Teal-inspired organisation today. When it’s time to recruit a new team leader, let the team one level below write up the job description, interview candidates and select their leader. Subordinates take choosing their leader very seriously, and this process will give the new leader a much stronger working relationship with the team.

Be extraordinary,
Anouk and Nicola