The tree is a helpful metaphor when thinking about leadership in organizations.

The leaves and small branches holding them, reaching out into the open air, can be considered as strategic leadership. They are reaching to the future.

Continuing with the metaphor, we can see the trunk and main support branches as operational leadership. The trunk and main branches hold everything up and provide nutrient flows through all parts of the tree. This represents the operational every-day-ongoing-work of the organization.

The root system is usually beyond our notice, invisible and taken for granted. The roots provide grounding and enable us to draw many nutrients, and ultimately determine the health of the system. Attending to the roots characterizes Self-Organizing Leadership™.

This form of leadership develops coherence in the organization, laying under and supporting all we do. Much of the work of Center for Self-Organizing Leadership is focused at making an organization’s underlying patterns and processes visible and teaching leaders how to sustain the health of the roots of their organization.