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

Role filler's right to abandon projects/actions undermines Lead Link's authority to set priorities for the circle

Hi everybody!

Link Link is supposed to be able to prioritise the work of the circle. Though, role fillers can abandon any action/project they taken before. Can they simply discard project/action that lead link prioritised higher if they disagree with these priorities? I don't see any reason why they cannot. But that seems to be totally undermining lead link's ability to prioritise work. Is there something about it that I don't see or understand? How can lead link or whoever deal with such behaviour?

2 Replies
Eric Babinet

Hi Alexey - What you say is accurate. While the Lead Link can set the priorities for the circle, it is the role filler who decides how to allocate their time. Here are a few things the Lead Link could do in such a situation:

1) Ask what projects/actions the person is prioritizing higher than the project/action that the Lead Link is interested in. (4.1.1b)

2) Provide feedback to the role filler if the Lead Link thinks they are working on something of lower priority.

3) If necessary, remove the person from the role.

Hope that helps.


Gerald Mitterer

Hi Alexey,

this is a great question which points to certain nuances in lead link authorities.

The Lead Link, just like any other role, can pitch other roles to take actions and projects. However, it's one thing to pitch because "I think we should do XY”, but another thing to request it from a specific role. Good Lead Link practice would be to first check your role’s definition, and if s/he thinks the needed project fits your role, s/he would request that project from you. 

Now, it's up to you as role-filler to interpret your role and decide whether that project requested does sound like a good idea to take on to express your role’s purpose or accountabilities. If you don’t think it does, then the most that the Lead Link can do is try to convince you - but in a way an employee would try to convince her/his boss; the final say remains with the role-filler. If it still doesn’t work, then the Lead Link’s next move could be to go to governance and propose adding accountabilities to your role to include the type of work s/he wants you to be doing in that role. After that modification, s/he can come back to you and request the project again.

Important nuance: Once you’ve agreed to take on a project because you agree it makes sense for your role to take on, - then and only then - the Lead Link has the special authority to prioritize them and ask you to focus on project A before project B. Thus, once you agree to take on a project, the Lead Link authority for prioritizing work becomes relevant and binding for you.

That's my perspective on this. Hope it helps.

- Gerald