Group Session
Group Session
South East Training
South East Training

Introduction to System Leadership

This blended programme, consisting of a pre-workshop assignment and a one-day workshop, looks at decision making in complex environments and the role of the system leader in bringing together multiple perspective that challenge established mental models and restrictive thinking.

Programme Aim

The aim of the Introduction to System Leadership programme is to provide leaders at all levels with an insight into the concept of system leadership and the role and characteristics of the system leader.

Programme Objectives

On completion of the Introduction to System Leadership programme you will be able to:

  • Define the meaning of the term ‘system’
  • Give examples of systems at work
  • Explain why it is important to think in terms of systems when tackling problems
  • Explain the danger of relying on mental models when tackling complex problems
  • Explain the separation in time and space in cause and effect when trying to change complex systems
  • Produce a system diagram for your own work environment
  • Explain the role of the system leader in developing an understanding of systems thinking
  • Describe the use of an array of tools for:
    • Seeing the larger system
    • Fostering reflection and generative conversations
    • Shifting from reaction to creating the future
  • Define the core capabilities of system leaders and how leaders can grow into this role.

Self-Directed Study Unit

The self-directed study unit consists of:

  • System Leadership:
    • Why do we need system leadership?
  • Understanding Systems:
    • What is a system?
    • Tools for understanding explanatory systems
    • Tools for fostering reflection and generative conversations
    • Tools for shifting from reaction to co-creating the future
    • Encouraging others to adopt systems thinking.


The workshop covers:

  • Review of the self-directed study unit
  • Working with others to develop a multi-perspective of the system
    • System maps
    • Influence diagrams
    • Sign diagrams
  • Introducing systems thinking
    • 10 steps to systems thinking
  • The characteristics and behaviour of the system leader
    • Identifying the characteristics of the system leader

Post-Workshop Activity

  • Sharing your learning with colleagues
  • Constructing your own system map
Introduction to System Leadership
SET - Introduction to System Leadership.[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [240.1 KB]

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