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Boundary-spanning Leadership

Key Idea

The boundary-spanning leader obliterates the notion that “information is power.” Instead, the boundary-spanning leader has the skills and mindset to create human connections and commitment across different organizational units, geography, national cultures and ethnic/religious identities.

Book to Read

Boundary-spanning Leadership 
by Curtis Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason (2011)

Quick Take from the Book

There are five boundaries of leadership:

  1. Vertical (across rank and authority).
  2. Horizontal (across functions and units).
  3. Stakeholder (across different supply chains, customers, investors, etc.).
  4. Demographic (between diverse groups).
  5. Geographic (across locations and markets).

Quote of Note

"Let’s be clear – boundary-spanning leadership is not for the faint of heart. It’s not easy to lead outside your box in the organizational chart, across the lines of stakeholder interests, beyond the borders of the division or groups you represent. It’s a constant challenge to lead across boundaries of Us and Them, in search of the collective We. It’s a persistent struggle to step outside the cultural, organizational, religious, political or national worldviews that form your being, and to remain open to the clash of ideas around you. " — Ernst and Chrobot-Mason

Related Styles: Open Leadership, Complexity Leadership, Agile Leadership

Return to List of Leadership Styles