Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

Going too far in not interfering with other roles ?

Hi, all:


I have always assumed that in Holacracy, when two roles have different opinions on how to solve a shared problem that the two roles need to discuss the problem among themselves and find a solution together.

Other roles can help when asked, or give inputs and feedbacks, but that's about it.  The resolution of the problem has to be completed by the roles having the problem.


I fill Lead Link roles in several circles and with this assumption, when two or more roles have a shared tension, I normally don't step in and try to be the wise king that solve their problem wisely.  I always told them that I can facilitate the discussion but I will not decide for them, as I am not the one feeling the tension, and it is not within my roles' authority to do that, not even the Lead Link.


This, however, has caused a certain dissatisfaction for a lot of people, because sometimes the roles take a long time to settle their differences, and they wonder why I'm letting them go on and on without stepping in. A certain "heroic" leadership is expected of me to save the day.


I'm feeling torn - on the one hand, I presumed Holacracy's intention is for less of this heroic action, but on the other hand, people are expecting a swift action on my part as their former boss prior to Holacracy.


Have I misinterpreted the intention of Holacracy to reduce or even eliminate this type of Heroic action ? Or have I gone too far ?


I'm curious if others have experienced the same sort of challenge, and wonder what the best way going forward is.











2 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode

Dear Dien,


Here are my reactions when reading your post.


1° When you write "two roles have different opinions on how to solve a shared problem", it sounds to me that there is lack of clarity about the roles involved. My question is "wich role has the authority to solve the problem ?"


If there is a lack of clarity about this point, rise this issue as a tension in a gov meeting and rely on the Holacracy process to clarify your emerging structure.


2) I read that you" can facilitate the discussion", As you're lead link, I'm afraid this could be another cause of confusion wich overlaps in the situation. As you know, Link lead can't be the facilitator in his own circles. Even if it is for "faciliting the discussion", it might be easily interpreted as a LL "old power resurgence" ;-)


3) It seems if there is a discussion, this discussion is the clue about clarity needed in the organisation.



Dien Kwik

Hi, Jean:


1) Yes, you're right  I keep teaching people to do just this, but in these instances I don't do it myself.

The more I think about it, most of the issues do indeed stem from overlap of roles and confusion of who csn make the decision.


2. Yes, you're right too here. In these cases, since they can't seem to solve the problem, they automatically turn to me, as they normally did prior to Holacracy. I offered to facilitate, because I would otherwise feel bad for completely turning down the request to solve the problem, even though I don't have that role, and it is not helping in transitioning to a more distributed authority system.


Changing mindsets and habits (including mine) turns out to be a bigger job than I originally thought