Network Leadership : Navigating and Shaping Our Interconnected World book cover
1st Edition

Network Leadership
Navigating and Shaping Our Interconnected World

ISBN 9780367552541
Published March 28, 2022 by Routledge
294 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Across organisations and communities there are leaders who manage to get things done through their ability to understand how a network of individuals connect, who to talk to and how to bring people together in the right constellation of effort. These are "network leaders".

Network Leadership enables readers to identify and make the most of informal social and organisational networks in order to challenge the status quo effectively and facilitate greater engagement and productivity. Not only will the research in these chapters help you become a better leader and manager of your own team or department, it will also help make you a better network leader, effecting positive change across teams, and departmental and organisational boundaries. Leaders who facilitate action do so through four key practices: they understand the social systems in which they work; they have convening power, uncovering and connecting underlying movements and giving voice to something that is worth listening to; they lead beyond their formal authority; and they possess the power of restless persuasion and a capacity to thrive in complexity and crises.

This book is invaluable reading for those who have mastered the basics of leadership but wish to take the next steps. It is particularly relevant to organisations and managers dealing with the geographic separation of business units, change, innovation, matrix management, project or portfolio management and other cross-departmental projects.

Table of Contents


Part I: The Leadership Stage

1 The World Is Changing

2 Work and Organisations Are Changing

3 Leadership Is Changing


Part II: Overview of Network Leadership

4 Public Sector Perspective

5 Third Sector Perspective

6 Corporate Sector Perspective

7 Our Perspective of Network Leadership


Part III: Understanding the Social System

8 Actor and Social Networks

9 Wicked Problems

10 Organisational Networks

11 Social Network Analysis

12 The Reflective Practitioner


Part IV: Convening Power

13 Power, Influence and Behaviour

14 Personal Manifesto

15 Politics, Ethics and Trust

16 Connective Power


Part V: Leading beyond Authority

17 Leading from a Different Place

18 Leading in a Different Way

19 Dealing with Wicked Problems


Part VI: Restless Persuasion

20 Resilience

21 Being Comfortable in Chaos

22 Leading in a Crisis

23 Being Unreasonable with a Smile




Appendix 1: A Brief History of Social Network Analysis

Appendix 2: Leader Biographies

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James Whitehead is a Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, and an Associate of PSA Training and Development, where he worked as senior lead consultant for six years before taking up his current post. Prior to that he was an officer in the British Army, specialising in leadership and management education and influence operations in Afghanistan.

Mike Peckham is Managing Partner at Gadhia Consultants, Managing Director of PSA Training and Development and Chairman of Airbox Systems.


"In this important book the authors provide a new view of leadership that takes us beyond the traditional 'heroic' image of leaders and instead provides a new narrative that recognises the importance of context. As a leader I have always believed in the informal power of networks and convening to bring people together to achieve great things. This is the first book that provides an insight to my version of leadership."

Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CBE


"We only truly grow up when we know what it is to be fully human. In our hands we are being given technology tools that are transforming what we can do and how we grow. But just because we can do it, doesn’t make it good for us. The world needs leaders who thrive on living in this tension and use tools for growing transparency of truth. That’s good for all of us."



"Mike and James have produced a timely gem of a handbook for leaders at all levels. Leading amidst the profound shifts in how we live, work and relate to one another demands we evolve how we lead and Network Leadership shows us how."

Neil Ventura, Executive Vice President, Strategy & Innovation (De Beers Group)


"In Network Leadership, James and Mike connect the dots beautifully in laying out what it means to be an agile and resilient leader in a rapidly changing world. I hope that you will find in Network Leadership, tangible ideas to help you elegantly navigate your networks and galvanise action towards the change you believe in."

Demi Edosomwan, Managing Director, TotalEnergies Ventures