Aug 1, 2019
Introduction: Dr Simon Western is CEO of
Analytic Network Coaching, Adjunct Professor University College
Dublin and President International Society for the Psychoanalytic
Study of Organisations. Simon has international experience as an
academic, leadership coach and strategic consultant. He delivers
numerous keynotes on the topic of “New Leadership for new Times” He
has authored 3 acclaimed books, Global Leadership Perspectives with
Eric-Jean Gautier, Leadership a critical text (3rd Edition), and
Coaching and Mentoring a Critical text, 2nd edition. Simon
challenges conventional wisdom and offers insights into how
leadership is changing in light of the digital age
Podcast episode summary: In this episode Simon
speaks to the need for a more humanitarian approach to leadership
remembering to put the Human at the heart of any project. He shares
his analysis of Leadership and in particular the 4 discourses of
leadership encountered over the last 100 years. The Eco-Leadership
is necessary for our digitised and networked society and to address
the many complex challenges we face today, such as Climate
Noteworthy points of discussion
- Simon adopts a very practical approach to his work. He
considers himself an anthropologist in organisations looking and
listening for what needs to emerge.
- He adopts a critical questioning approach, informed by his
understanding of Critical Theory, Networked Theory, Social Movement
theory and Psychoanalysis.
- Because of the frenetic pace of work and the demands made of us
many people are struggling to find their authentic selves.
- Simon supports clients to really “experience their experience”
and his methodology can be described as a process of journeying
through 5 Frames of analysis: The Depth Frame, The Relationship
Frame, The Leadership Frame, The Networked Frame and finally the
Strategic Frame. This approach disrupts people’s conventional way
of doing things, too often rational, linear and flat.
- Simon shared the evolution of leadership over the course of the
last 100 years to comprise Four distinct discourses. These
discourses include, The Controller Leadership discourse, which
often dehumanises the workplace, the Therapist Leadership
discourse, making work more democratic and looking at what
motivates people to the Messiah Leadership discourse as a way of
leading that asks for a transformational leader, someone who is
visionary and can signal a purpose for the entity, that others
follow to finally the last discourse called the ECO Leadership
discourse. This discourse is a Meta theory, which is about getting
the other three discourses in balance in an organisation.
- Progressive leaders and organisations see the need for
understanding Eco Leadership, they appreciate we are living in an
Eco-System, a networked society but making the transition from the
other leadership discourses is not easy. It is a mindset
- Often pressures on teams’ forces people inexorably back to the
controller leadership discourse of the comfort of the Messiah and
Therapist discourse. Important to hold the tension, to pause,
reflect, question and look awry
- We are not taught in a way to appreciate systems, to think
spatially and to question. Our education system encourages
individualism and siloed thinking.
- We are experiencing a paradigm shift forced on us by
digitisation and it is important for us to adapt, for Simon this
means people need to put themselves into the world and not retreat,
to “experience the experience “and to be real.
- Curiosity is key.
Resources: the following include the resources
we alluded to over the course of our conversation
- Leadership a Critical Text (3rd Edition) 2018, by Western,
- Coaching and Mentoring, a Critical Text (2nd Edition) by
- Global Leadership Perspectives, Western, Simon and Gautier,