Special Focus Dialogue - Leadership and self-managing organisations

Thursday 11 June 2020

Managerless but leaderful: what self-managing organisations can teach us about leadership

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many organisations have had to adapt to different ways of organising their work and managing their teams, switching – to varying degrees – to remote-working models almost over-night, with all the challenges this may entail in terms of team communication, collaboration and decision-making.

In response to the crisis, UICC has also witnessed the emergence of many spontaneous community groups to serve local needs without waiting for formal permission from the government or other authorities. These informal groups are, for the most part, autonomous and self-organising, and are able to provide a quick response outside formal organizational hierarchies. They reflect, in part, the concept of self-management, a movement advocating a more decentralised and agile organisational design.

What can self-managing organisations teach us about leadership as the world of work adapts to a new normal? In this session, participants explored examples from around the world of self-managing organisations (in the health and social care sector and beyond), and the three shifts – structural and human – that are needed in order for new ways of working to flourish.

This Virtual Dialogue is supported through the UICC CEO Programme, sponsored by:

MSD logo.png

Knowledge resources from this Dialogue



Blogs by Helen Sanderson and Lisa Gill


Lisa Gill

Lisa Gill is an organisational self-management coach and facilitates leadership courses that train people in a more adult-adult, coaching style of leadership with Tuff Leadership Training. She is also the host of the Leadermorphosis podcast, for which she has interviewed thought leaders and practitioners from all over the world about the future of work. Lisa was included in the Thinkers50 Radar 2020 for her work with self-managed teams. Her facilitation also extends to the world of online participatory courses via the Better Work Together Academy.



Helen Sanderson is the founder of Wellbeing Teams, a new model for delivering care and support within communities, demonstrating how self-managed teams can work in health and care. Wellbeing Teams are one of Nesta’s 50 New Radicals, have been rated Outstanding by the UK's Care Quality Commission and have won The Guardian's Public Service Award in 2019. Helen is the author of over 20 books, as well as good practice guidance for the UK's Department of Education on Education Health and Care plans.



Event Information

UICC Member
This event is under the auspices of UICC
Last update: 
Friday 16 April 2021