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The ‘integral leader’ is the key element in an environment with many different influences, players and interest at stake. The integral leader explores all facets of that dynamic environment. For every direction - outwards, upwards and inwards - we have a few tips that can help you as an integral leader to reflect or to take action.

Tip 1: look outside

Participating citizens and the private sector are sometimes more advanced than the government. They accept responsibility and take initiative. Sometimes the government gives them control, other times they simply take over control. In other words: it is not always possible anymore to control and manage everything.

Change has consequences everywhere

This means that the integral leader needs to see and understand the greater goals of the organisation. He needs to understand that the organisation is part of society. He must understand that all different elements of the organisation, big or small, together make one working system. Change has consequences everywhere. Not just within one department. Not just within the organisation. Please find below 3 tools to look outside.

What happens around you?
Learn to look at other disciplines: what happens in your organisation? What departments are there? What do they do exactly? Is there any overlap? Are you all working towards the same main goal? Or are you actually competing with each other?

Know your network and …
You depend on your internal network and external stakeholders. Open your doors and windows. Let them in, reach out. Step away from regulating top-down. That requires an integral outlook. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes to try and understand the needs and wishes.

… connect, connect, connect
Identify the different talents and areas of expertise and connect these. Be the binding factor that is needed.

Tip 2: look up

‘Integral management’ used to mean a certain status followed by an extensive range of operational and supporting services. But those times are long gone. Managers more and more perform those operational and supporting tasks themselves. That means various management levels need to be upgraded. And different demands are imposed on managers. This will help you to upgrade yourself:

Develop new skills
Learn how to analyse the internal and external forces you deal with. Learn not to judge straight away. Learn to connect: people, situations, and opportunities.

‘Let it go’ where you can
Try to be less involved with the day-to-day work. Especially when you are an active part of the workforce. Step up and think down. What can you do to help people work more efficiently for example.

Think strategic, think wider
Do not just think about your own area of expertise, but look at the bigger picture. Think strategically. Think horizontal. Think wider. What does the organisation need? What added value do you offer? And how can the organisation benefit from developments in your department?

Tip 3: look inside

Middle managers are increasingly expected to solve their own problems, and not to involve others by doing so. Traditional line controlling makes room for ‘content hierarchy’. This means the modern manager needs to be more flexible and sensitive.

Learn to deal with different roles
Sometimes you are contractor, client, coach, leader, analyst, spokesperson, insurer and executor, all within the same role. You need to be able to unite all these roles within yourself. You have to learn to think and act from different roles.

Learn to trust
Find autonomy in people evident. Ask yourself: what do my people need to excel? Can you facilitate this? Understand that the younger generation is more used to working autonomously than the older generation.

Learn to learn
Times change. What professional development do you need to excel today within new ways of leadership?

Interview with Alfredo Polonia, senior program maker of in company training courses at de Baak. By Theo Labrujere.

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