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

Rep-Link and Lead-Link roles held by one person

Dear Friends,

one organization (senior-care home) wanting to transition to Holacracy asked if they could start by giving the people who formerly have been leading their department (e.g. kitchen chef) both lead link and rep link role to start with?

That former kitchen chef would therefore be the Rep Link in the super-circle for a certain period which would need to be defined. Previously they have had like a management circle in which all leaders of the seven departments took part of. That management circle would now be the super-circle.

In the constitution (2.4) I assume this can be the case when one circle (formerly department) has only one person in it.

This could be like a starting structure once all circles (previously departments) have established the roles and also have had enough experience with GovMeetings and TactMeetings. At a certain point they would start with elections.

For any of your thoughts I would be very grateful.


8 Replies
Jean-Michel Gode

Hi Martin,

From my perspective :

• Good starting point by appointing as Lead Link the people who formerly have been leading the department

• Elect as soon as possible a Rep Link within the sub-circle members after one or to meetings (tactical or Gov), in order to really express the sub-circle DNA through another people than the LL.

• II really trust that having 2 different people enacting the LL and the Rep link role is a powerful change in the organization transformation.

Hope that helps,

Martin Rausch


thank you so much for your perspective. I like your suggestion and I think it is a great way to move forward. It gives the former department leaders some time to get adjusted and it avoids overwhelming them by losing their sense of position.

Your response is very supportive. I am also curious if anyone else has some insights or experience re the transitiion for people who were leading and representing their departments and now take on the LL role and pass on their representing status.

Kind regards,


Davi Gabriel da Silva

Hello Martin.

I go with Jean-Michel. Having a second person (the rep link) representing the circle is very powerful, specially at the beginning. Usually the Lead Link knows more about the circle health, and he or she is going to promptly report the metrics and checklists in the first tactical meetings. I like to encourage the rep links to report them instead (as the Constitution states), because it forces the elected person to know more about the whole circle. It also gives a sense that the LL is not the all-mighty manager anymore. It's cool

The integrative election process is very powerful and encourages more participation and involvement from the core roles. I suggest you do not skip that.


Martin Rausch

Thank you Davi Gabriel,

your remarks give me a better sense of the dynamics and importance of dividing the roles.

In your experience where does the "former" manager find his sense of purpose and importance once giving up his sense his positional power. Do you or anyone else have any feedback from clients on that?


That's unconstitutional:


Each Circle normally elects a Rep Link to its Super-Circle. However, this election is not required when a Circle lacks any Core Circle Members other than those serving as Lead Link and Cross Links into the Circle. In this case, even if the election is conducted, the elected Rep Link does not become a Core Circle Member of the Super-Circle.

Martin Rausch

Thank you Margaux. Let me see if I understand well.

You are saying based on the constitution that if a circle lacks CCMs (other then LL and CL) it cannot send a member to the Super-Circle that represents them as a RepLink. Also the LL cannot send herself or himself as a RepLink to the Super-Circle (basically filling two roles).

Now what happens if I have a company with a circle that only has 1 person working 100% and two other people working 20% filling the same role and circle? Can't the LL take on two roles LL and RL and attend the Super Circle? Or would it be better for them just to be part of the larger circle (filling a role) and not create a Circle of their own.

I am working with a senior care company which has 7 departments. And some of these departments, like the one of Care, have 22 people and the one of activation have only 3 people, the own of house technique has only own person, and so on. Maybe it is better just to have own cirlce and have the two big ones be sub-circles.

Davi Gabriel da Silva


If you have just 1 person, you should collapse the circle back as a role. Usually you create a circle when you have more than 1 person and want to give them more freedom in terms of self-organization. Otherwise a role is just fine.

About the "former" manager: there are many different possible paths. He or she can go back to the trenches by energizing roles that perform "operational work" that he used to manage. Another possibility is filling roles related to coaching and training. In some circles it is common to have a role that centralizes some kind of process or strategy, where other roles are accountable for aligning with. For example, in some software development circles there might be a role accountable for defining and improving a software development process (In this case, it is important to make other roles accountable for following the process defined). I think that might be an appropriate role for a "former" manager.

Hope that helps!

Martin Rausch

Yes, this has been very helpful Davi Gabriel. Thank you so much - I am getting to see the whole picture!