Our world has changed, but our dominant concepts of leadership haven’t. The influence of hierarchy goes beyond an employee’s rank and status. Hierarchies continue to feed explicit and implicit biases based on socioeconomic levels, race, education, gender, language, ethnicity, resources, and abilities.

Assumptions that certain professions and people warrant value above others, wisdom and skill are acquired only through formal paths of study, and credentials equal competence, are the consequences of an organizational structure we essentially inherited from cavemen.

In a traditional organizational, roles are hierarchical and static and leadership directs employees. In this model, the guest/client is not even a part of the organizational structure, and individual employees are often lost within their cohort. Power moves UP at each level.

By contrast, in a Collective Organization (below) you would instead move BACK from the primary focus (which is the guest facing employee at any given moment) to the people and systems that work collaboratively to support them.

A Collective organizational structure empowers employees. The focus of is the guest/client and the guest facing employee. Who these employees are may change moment to moment, and the rest of the organization is continually working to support this interaction.

Collective Leadership training helps remove implicit assumptions reinforced by familiar hierarchical models that place some employees at the “bottom” and others at the “top.” Exploring narrative history through the Collective Journey created by Jeff Gomez shows the source of organizational hierarchies and how a new style of leadership is emerging that challenges well-established systems and traditions, while increasing interdependence, employees’ sense of agency, and workplace productivity and well-being.

Collective Leadership responds to employees’ expanding access to resources and information, building an inclusive environment capable of receiving and valuing what each individual has to offer. This empowers employees and supports them in developing skills and talents that are often not recognized or cultivated in a conventional organizational model.