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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Asymmetric Leadership: supporting a CEO

Twentieth century approaches to enterprise assumed that leadership had to be exercised ultimately from a single position at the top of a hierarchy. A new challenge is emerging for leadership in the twenty-first century created by the need to respond to increasingly differentiated individual client demands. The asymmetric nature of these demands requires leadership to be exercised from the point of contact with the client, that is, from the edge of the enterprise. The term asymmetric leadership describes the nature of the leadership required to hold the clients demands as a central focus and to be able to identify, tolerate and ultimately address the anxieties that arise as a consequence of the necessity to engage with these asymmetric forms of demand in order to move the goals of the enterprise forward. Such leadership must be exercised by managers collaborating across niche hierarchies in order contain the significant disturbance created for the enterprise in its attempt to maintain a dynamic alignment with its external environment.