Update: Please note that the CLFS work is currently under review and the team will currently not be offering its full range of development offers. You can read the full November team update here.

Collaborative Work with Margaret Wheatley


Scotland’s ambition for its future, as outlined in the National Outcomes, is inspiring. We know that doing more of the same but quicker is not necessarily going to achieve the results we want to see, but how do we change our deep-rooted patterns of behaviour? When the scale and complexity of the challenges can feel overwhelming, how do we stand our ground in a way that allows us to take positive and perceptive actions?

Leaders are confronted with complex change in the internal and external environment. In response to these increasing pressures, the majority of which are beyond any individual’s control, good leaders face both personal and organisational challenges.  As a result, they can feel exhausted, overwhelmed and, at times, faced with a sense of meaninglessness. In order to be effective in today’s increasingly complex and uncertain world, there is a clear recognition that leaders need a new set of skills.

We need leaders who put service over self,
 who can be steadfast in crises and failures,
 who want to stay present and make a difference to the people,
 situations and causes they care about.

Margaret Wheatley, “Who do we choose to be”

Collective Leadership for Scotland has been exploring and building capacity for Collective Leadership in Scotland for many years now.  The new skill set that this leadership environment requires includes a level of personal mastery, sometimes missing from leadership development efforts. It is this area of personal mastery which Meg Wheatley focuses on in her work.

About Meg Wheatley

Specialising in Organisational Behaviour, Margaret Wheatley’s approach includes Systems Thinking, Theories of Change, Leadership and the Learning Organisation and believes in the idea that “real social change comes from the ageless process of people thinking together in conversation”. Margaret is a world-renowned leadership expert. 

She writes, speaks, and teaches globally about how we can accomplish our work, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve in these turbulent times to do good work maintaining the best of humanity – treating people with compassion and dignity. Meg refers to these leaders as “Warriors for the Human Spirit”: people “dedicated to serving people without adding to the aggression and fear of this time”. 

Her expertise therefore perfectly complements Collective Leadership for Scotland’s vision and mission of initiating positive system changes through collaboration across public services and the wider society.

“Collective Leadership Scotland is, in my experience,
 an exemplar for how leaders need to be trained for this time.
  Working as a community of like-minded and motivated leaders, learning to think systemically,
 focused on innovation, contribution and service
—these are the essential ingredients that leaders need now.”

Meg Wheatley, October 2019

Collaborative Work with Meg Wheatley

Life-Affirming Leadership: Developing the Skills of Insight & Compassion Report (October 2021)

Past Collaborative Work

Life-affirming leadership: Developing the skills of insight and compassion – Warriors for the Human Spirit Training Programme

2-6 March 2020, Perth (Scotland)

Together with Margaret Wheatley, Collective Leadership for Scotland co-hosted a residential training programme in March 2020. The programme ‘Life-affirming leadership: Developing the skills of insight and compassion – Warriors for the Human Spirit Training Programme’ provided a learning and training opportunity for a cohort of 35 system leaders in Meg Wheatley’s approach to developing the skills to lead with insight and compassion.
The event has now past, but if you are interested in finding out more please read our report about this programmme

'Perseverance' Learning Event

1-2 October 2021, Edinburgh (Scotland)

During the collaborative two-day ‘Perseverance’ learning event in October 2019, over 130 leaders from across public service and beyond explored what it takes to persevere in times like ours. Over the course of two days filled with insightful teachings, inspirational stories and collaborative group exercises, we worked on the skills needed to stand our ground and keep leading with clarity.
To find out more about this event, please read our blog post here and read our brand-new report here