Systemic Leadership Toolkit

Author William Tate

Publisher Triarchy Press

October 2009

ISBN 978-0-956263-12-4

Buy here

In his other book The Search for Leadership (published in Summer 2009 by Triarchy Press), Bill showed how leadership needs to be considered from an organisational perspective rather than from the conventional perspective of developing individual leaders.

Now, in the Systemic Leadership Toolkit, he has put together a practical guide that addresses this need. Based on the author’s extensive consultancy work on leadership issues, the Toolkit uses a Systems Thinking approach and a series of self-assessment questionnaires to guide you through the entire improvement process.

Use the Toolkit to diagnose and understand the leadership gaps that prevent your business from flourishing, then use it to create implementation strategies for improving the way leadership operates. The Toolkit is designed to offer a stand-alone improvement process for any organisation – but it can also be used in collaboration with an internal or external specialist/consultant.

The central mantra from both the book and this Toolkit is ‘Stop polishing the fish and tackle the water they swim in’. The organisation is the fishtank in this metaphor, and good leadership is achieved and maintained by paying attention not to the state of the individual fish but to the surrounding environment.

In the systemic leadership model, individual leaders still provide personal leadership, but in a way that is mindful of the needs of the organisation. The organisation, in its turn, is responsible for creating the conditions in which this is possible.

The Toolkit is designed to help an organisation’s managers:

  1. To build a collective awareness of the current leadership process, practice and future needs in the organisation as a whole.
  2. To reach practical conclusions around the scope for improvement.
  3. To generate the commitment and energy to do something about the current situation.
  4. To decide on, plan and implement changes.

The Toolkit, which is designed to be run as a self-assessment audit in any organisation, has 9 modules – each reflecting one of 9 key themes from The Search for Leadership.


The Organisational Leadership Audit (self-assessment tool) Cambridge Strategy Publications, September 2003.


The Organisation Shadow-Side Audit (self-assessment tool) Cambridge Strategy Publications, September 2003.


The Business Innovation Audit (self-assessment tool) Cambridge Strategy Publications, September 2003.