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

Lead Link and Rep Link in the Constitution


I am confused right now about how the Lead Link and Rep Link are defined in the Constitution!

Rep Link

Looking at "2.3.1 BASE MEMBERSHIP" - it seems the Rep Link is only a (core) role within the (super-)circle to which it is elected, and not in the (sub-)circle in which it is elected. Is that true?


Unless a special appointment or exclusion is made under the terms of this section, the Core Circle Members of a Circle are:

(a) each Partner filling a Defined Role in the Circle;
(b) the Lead Link of the Circle, as defined in Section 2.2;
(c) each Rep Link elected to the Circle, as defined in Section 2.6.4; (d) and each Cross Link into the Circle, as defined in Section 2.7

Lead Link

In the Holacracy book (and H1 training), we're told that the Lead Link is in the super-circle - and indeed GlassFrog represents it this way. But I cannot find anything in the constitution that says this.

I guess it's some kind of interaction between "2.1 CIRCLE BASICS"...

A “Circle” is a Role that may further break itself down by defining its own contained Roles to achieve its Purpose, control its Domains, and enact its Accountabilities.


A Circle’s Lead Link inherits the Purpose and any Accountabilities on the Circle itself, and controls any Domains defined on the Circle, just as if the Circle were only a Role and the Lead Link filled that Role.

But then I have also had several much more experienced Holacracy practitioners tell me today that the "Lead Link role does not exist in the super-circle; the Lead Link exists within the (sub-)circle. In the super-circle, there is only the role, which is filled by the role-holder of the Lead Link role within the sub-circle". IE that these are different roles - and that the Lead Link therefore cannot be said to process tensions in the super-circle. 


I find this really confusing - is there something that I'm missing?


Thanks, Andrew 

3 Replies
Chris Cowan

Andrew, interesting question! I'll take a stab at it.

Regarding the Rep Link, I think it may be an issue of English prepositional interpretation ("of the circle" "to the circle", and "in the circle"). 

Yes, it says, "each Rep Link elected to the Circle," but the context of this is regarding "base membership" of one specific Circle. So, I think it's fair to interpret that "to" as appropriate regarding an elected Role (as in, "people are elected to an office" not "of an office" or "for an office") for the entity they represent.  

Regarding the Lead Link and whether or not it's "in" the Super-Circle. I think you're right that section 2.2.1 helps clarify that the Lead Link of a Sub-Circle (say "Marketing") is also the Role of that Sub-Circle in its entirety (i.e. the "Role of Marketing") from the perspective of the Super-Circle.

In addition to that, which I admit isn't super clear, I think the interpretation comes from connecting two different parts of the Constitution; 1) the guidance around the Lead Link of a Circle; and 2) what is a Role and how it works within a Circle.  

Meaning, since the Lead Link inherits the purpose and accountabilities of a Circle, and that Circle is really just a Role (from the perspective of the Super-Circle), then the Lead Link is the defacto "Marketing Role" in the Super-Circle.

It's like looking at two sides of the same coin. One side has an image of a flag, the other side a river. Depending on how you look at it (from what perspective), does the coin feature a flag or river? Well, both. It's the same entity, just looked at in two different ways.

Meaning, it's 100% accurate to say "the 'Lead Link' doesn't exist in the Super-Circle," because the "Marketing Role" exists in the Super-Circle. But in a way, it's the same entity. So, it's also accurate to say "The Lead Link does exist in the Super-Circle." That may be where there is some confusion.

Of course, none of this means the Constitution itself shouldn't be clarified, so consider submitting something about it to Github


Thanks Chris!

This two sides of a coin interpretation matches my view of how the LL is in the super-circle and the sub-circle.

The Rep Link stuff I'm still confused by - one for the feature list!

Thanks, Andrew 

Adrien Tardif

In sociocracy both lead links and rep links are in the super-circle. However i met some persons practising holacracy in their company that consider the rep link take the seat from the lead link in the super-circle which could make sense as well. I am wondering which are the pros and cons for the two perspectives.