Leading Self, Leading Systems

Highly engaging two-session online leadership workshop (31 Mar & 7 Apr) drawing on the ground-breaking work of systems theorist, Barry Oshry

£180 – £300

About this event

Times of great disruption and volatility are also moments of great possibility and transformation. To realise the potential of this moment we must strengthen two critical leadership capacities:

  • Leading Self – how to bring greater awareness, compassion and insight to turbulent situations; and
  • Leading Systems – how to skilfully navigate and lead amidst the messiness and complexity of human systems.

These workshops combine a rare combination of frameworks and practices that will deepen both your personal insight and your systems sight.

We draw on the profound and practical thinking of systems theorist, Barry Oshry, and his five decades of research into the nature of human systems and the drivers of human behaviour. One of the revelations in Oshry’s work is that many of the problems we believe are primarily personal or interpersonal – “I’m not effective in my role”, “If only I had a better manager (partner/Prime Minister/President) then things would be fine”, “We are not a good team” – are not just personal. Context matters too. Many of us don’t see our contexts and the power of context to shape consciousness and behaviour. This blindness to context increases blame, kills trust, and corrodes potentially supportive and productive relationships. We get stuck.

This online workshop includes two highly engaging, enjoyable and thought-provoking sessions spaced a week apart to allow you to immediately apply the frameworks and practices in your everyday working life.


Session 1, 0900-1130 BST, Thursday 31 March

 What to expect?

  • Online simulation that replicates the leadership contexts within which we work everyday. This experiential exercise becomes a platform to explore the nature of context in human systems and its impact on behaviour.
  • Frameworks to help you distinguish between personal and system dynamics.
  • Immediate application of the framework to your situation


  • Recognise four key systemic contexts in human systems and how these shape behaviour.
  • Learn to spot predictable patterns of behaviour that limit organisational effectiveness.
  • Identify specific habitual behaviours that limit your effectiveness.
  • Increase your awareness of the interplay between self and system.
Session 2, 0900-1300 BST, Thursday 7 April

 What to expect?

  • Engaging organisational exercise where participants enter a fast-moving, turbulent environment as either a top executive, middle manager, worker or customer working together on important shared tasks. The experience productively challenges taken-for-granted assumptions about what it means to lead yourself and lead systems.
  • Practices to bring together diverse stakeholders and rapidly generate a rich picture of the whole system.
  • Frameworks to expand your perspective and see more clearly what is personal and what is systemic.


  • Generate greater awareness and choice in how you lead yourself and the systems of which you are a part.
  • Increase your empathy for others, extending your ability to effectively partner with a wider range of stakeholders.
  • Learn to see underlying conditions & patterns of interacting that create misunderstandings, tensions and conflict in teams and organisations.


Online on Zoom

What does it cost?

Standard fee: £250 plus VAT (UK sales tax)

Reduced fee: £150 plus VAT (UK sales tax)

The workshop fee cover both sessions: on 31 March and 7 April.

We aim to offer our programmes to a wider range of people and organisations, including in different regions of the world. To widen accessibility to our programmes we offer a reduced fee option. Please choose the fee that fits your economic circumstances.

What do clients say about our online workshops?

“A game changer in online experiential learning”

“The possibility to empower ourselves in any moment by ‘seeing’ our emergent responses and then asking what our ‘creative contributions’ might be.

“Simple yet impactful.”

“Very apt and applicable to all types of organizations”

“Exceptional online learning – I was immediately able to see opportunities to grow and build on my work and the projects and teams I am working with.”

“Experiential, immersive, illuminating.”

John Watters is a Founding Director of Living Leadership and one of the world’s leading authorities on the work of systems theorist, Barry Oshry. John had the joy and privilege of a 15-year collaboration and partnership with Barry Oshry, pioneering the introduction of Oshry’s work into Europe, accrediting trainers, coaches and consultants worldwide and bringing this systems work to organisations as diverse as UNESCO, NATO, Shell, Microsoft, Roche, public sector bodies of all kinds, plus global and local charities.

John’s leadership and organisational consultancy work focuses on connecting individuals, teams and whole systems with their full potential. John specialises in facilitating breakthrough on complex issues and finding common ground in stuck and conflicted situations. In doing this work he pays special attention to holding space for our full humanity to be present, creating conditions to get to the heart of the issue and strengthening our capacity to listen deeply to ourselves, others and the whole system. Clients describe John’s way of working as courageous, challenging, warm-hearted and inspiring. John lives in Shoreham-by-Sea, UK.

Lauren Isla is an Associate of Future Considerations and a Director of Hope, Curiosity, Determination. Lauren is accredited in Barry Oshry’s Organisation Workshop and has delivered client programs using this framework in Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Singapore and Bangladesh.

Lauren helps organizations map out where they are against an ideal of having leaders and teams connecting, communicating and collaborating regularly across functions. Using proprietary tools and processes she helps organisations find out if their leaders and teams are networking as they should. Lauren’s spatial intelligence, analytical mind and ability to recognize patterns serve her in good stead as a Social Network Analyst (SNA). Trained by Valdis Krebs, a US-based consultant specializing in organisational network analysis, her work in SNA has provided the leaders of client organizations with insights into gaps in connections among and between their employees, teams and departments, allowing them to map and measure the amount of teamwork, communication, information flow, and knowledge-sharing that happens – or not – within their company, team, department, division or group. Lauren lives in Manila in the Philippines.

Other testimonials about our work:

“Working with John Watters has been among the most productive partnerships I have known”. Barry Oshry PhD, Author of Seeing Systems, Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life

“It is easy to underestimate the power of Oshry’s work until you have taken this workshop. It was a life changing experience. You will find instant applications to your personal and professional life”. Seema Malhotra, Member of Parliament for Feltham & Weston, UK