News Archive

Host Leading – Taking a practical new view on leadership

Join us for this free online workshop with Dr Leah Davcheva, coach and facilitator specialising in Host leadership and the Solutions Focus approach to building change. Wednesday 27 January 2021 at 6pm UK time.

We will aim to discover how to act in your organisation in order to build relationships and engagement while moving forward. You are also going to look into a leadership challenge you are facing right now and, thinking like a Host Leader, find possibilities for making progress.

During the programme, you will participate in activities designed to help you

  • experience the value of the host leadership metaphor in your own context of action
  • perform in ways that bring people together
  • use, to many practical benefits, the step- forward and step-back dance of the Host Leader
  • begin adopting the new roles and positions of engagement

All are welcome! Book now to reserve your place. Book free online at HOST LEADING: TAKING A NEW PRACTICAL VIEW ON LEADERSHIP

NEW online meet-up: Host Leadership past, present and future – Mon 14 December 2020

Join us for this 90 minute online event with Dr Mark McKergow, co-author of Host and the Host Leadership Field Book. Mark will be sharing how his work about leading as a host (rather than a hero or a servant) has evolved over the past 18 years, and lead a discussion about future developments and applications. He spent well over a decade researching what great hosts and leaders really do, and produced user-friendly frameworks such as the six roles and four positions of a host leader to help apply the power of engagement in organisations.

Mark will be joined by members of the international host leadership community who are applying these ideas all over the world to help leaders to build engagement, performance and results and to make organisations more humane AND more effective.

If you have yet to explore host leadership, this will be a great introduction. If you have heard about the models and approaches, this will be a fantastic re-awakening of the work. If you are using host leadership in practice, we would love to hear from you at the session.

This session will be held on Zoom. Places are limited. There will be a chance to engage with others as well as hearing from Mark and asking questions. The Zoom link will be sent to those who register for the event.

Join us on Monday 14th December 2020 for this meet-up to explore the next stages of host leadership. All welcome. Really.

Book free online at Host Leadership: past, present and future Tickets, Mon 14 Dec 2020 at 18:00 | Eventbrite.

New poster resources for Host Leadership

This is a guest blog from Leah Davcheva of Aha Moments in Sofia, Bulgaria. Leah is an experienced user and teacher of host leadership in many settings, and has designed a new collection of posters to support her work. These posters are now available for free download through the Host Leadership website.

The Host Leader metaphor underpins the host leading practices which can be thought of as involving two steps, four positions and six roles. For those willing to explore the metaphor and generate engagement in their own settings, a conversation about the metaphor can be usefully complemented by the images that capture their meaning. At the same time, they open space for learners and users of the model to create their own meanings and ideas.

For several years now, as coach and facilitator, I was using the images that Mark and Helen, authors of Host, have created (McKergow & Bailey, 2014). Their figurines did an excellent job supporting learners of Host Leadership in their understanding of the elegance and simplicity of the metaphor and at the same time bringing forth smiles of appreciation on their faces.

By and by, I realised I wanted to have images emerging from my own developing ideas and practices, as well as from the insights of the people I have worked with. The moment came to respond to this “call to action” (Initiator). What I did was invite an artist (Inviter), who I knew to be very good at collaborating with people. Her name is Radostina Nejkova.

Our joint journey towards the creation of the new images took the shape of a dance. As our respective areas of expertise were called upon, we alternated between performing as host and guest. The transitions seemed to flow spontaneously. I welcomed Radostina as a guest to the field of Host Leadership while she guided me elegantly round and about her artistic home.

With the wisdom of hindsight, I can see us both performing as Gatekeepers welcoming each other to our respective understandings. It did not take long for us to discover each other’s resources and connect on the images piece of common ground (Connector) which we expanded as our work gained speed. Step by step we were getting closer to both our shared and separate horizons.

The outcomes of this co-participative journey are several:

  • New images for the two steps, four positions and six roles
  • Radostina’s satisfaction with her artistic work and my joy of the new images
  • A new friendship emerging between two professional women who have performed as both Host Leaders and Guests in their shared two-week project.

You can download our posters at:

Host Leadership online meet-up Tuesday 30 June 6pm UK

We are holding our first public open meet-up on Tuesday 30 June 2020 at 6pm UK (19h CET) for 90 minutes. These are open to anyone, aimed at those with at least a little existing understanding or interest about Host Leadership. (There will be other online introductions to Host Leadership – the first was in May 2020 and can be seen here.)

The topic of this meet-up is ‘Could it be that simple? When implementing Host Leadership feels natural’ and will be led by Gery Derbier.  Gery is experienced at using Host Leadership in Agile and other fields, and has found that simply introducing the idea into a conversation can have significant and long-lasting results.  Gery says:

“Considering the vast amount of literature available, it seems leadership and management in organisations is a complicated matter. But is it? Since Mark McKergow told me about Host Leadership for the first time some six years ago, I have run several workshops in conferences and incorporated the material in the Agile Management trainings I give with Laurent Sarrazin. Each time, the response of the participants in these events has been very positive. But the most satisfying results I have seen came from rather simple conversations.”

“I will share some stories and then we can discuss together about all our ideas about how to best convey and spread the Host Leadership metaphor.”

Please see more details and sign up for this online meet-up at We look forward to seeing you on the call!

Village-In-The-City Zoom call 29 June 2020

Our Village-In-The-City manifesto has been attracting attention. Now it’s time to open an invitation to anyone wanting to find out more, share ideas and build on what works in building and sustaining micro-local communities in our cities and towns.  (And even our villages too…). As the post-COVID recovery gathers pace, we can build on the local initiatives which started with the pandemic and look to connect, share and invigorate local activities.  The Manifesto gives a powerful and coherent framework for creating and building Villages-In-The-City.

This Zoom call will be led by Dr Mark McKergow (Host Leadership), Dr Wendy Ellyat (Flourish Project) and Adrian Hodgson (urban development consultant, Berlin) to discuss why the Village-In-The-City is an idea whose time has definitely come, to engage with a range of voices, to share resources and to discover what might be some next steps to build back better.

The call is on Monday 29 June at 4pm UK time (17h CET) for one hour.  Please register using this link – you will receive the call link by email. If you have any questions in advance please contact Mark McKergow.

NEW online workshops and meet-ups – starts Wed 13 May 2020

We are beginning to run online events which will be accessible world wide. Many of these events will be run by members of the Host Leadership Stewards community, who themselves use and teach about Host Leadership.

The first of these is a FREE online 90 minute workshop introducing Host Leadership with Pierluigi Pugliese. Pierluigi is the co-editor with Mark McKergow of the Host Leadership Field Book, and has been using and teaching about Host Leadership for some years in Germany and Italy. (The workshop will be in English!)

For more details and to register, please click here to visit the relevant page of Pierluigi’s website.

We plan to hold similar workshops every couple of months, alternating them with online meet-ups to discuss and learn about particular aspects of leading as a host. More news soon!

New video: Mark McKergow on Hosting Generative Change

Mark McKergow’s new book on Hosting Generative Change: Creating Containers for Creativity and Commitment is out now. In this video, Mark is interviewed by Prof Gervase Bushe, leading dialogic OD expert and co-founder of the Bushe Marshak Institute, about the book. Mark reveals some of his own back story here along with the single most useful thing hosts and facilitators can do to tip the scales in their favour when organising a dialogic event.

You can find more videos featuring Mark speaking about the power of hosting and host leadership in our Video resources page.

NEW book: Hosting Generative Change

Mark McKergow’s new book Hosting Generative Change: Creating Containers for Creativity and Commitment is now out! Part of the BMI Series on Dialogic Organization Development, the book is a short and punchy guide on using hosting skills to bring people together to generate new possibilities, actions and futures.

“When the future is uncertain and the past is contested, good hosting can bring hope and co-operation into the present.

Any Dialogic OD practice will bring people together for creative conversations, expanded horizons, mutual connection and committed action. The way these events are hosted can make all the difference. Mark McKergow offers an image of superb hosting as a mix of detailed planning and openness to whatever emerges, taking the lead when needed, with the intent of stepping back as quickly as possible so participants can lead themselves.”

The book is designed to be read in two hours, and is illustrated with a punchy and lively case study of OD in action in the Robson Royal hospital. It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats worldwide, priced at around $20US. And of course you can ‘look inside’ the book on the various Amazon websites around the world.

Information and links to place to buy the book are on the BMI website.

“Change the way people think and things will never be the same” epitomises the impact that Mark McKergow has had over the years. His work in Solutions Focus is now being used in many of the world’s leading organisations. I have every confidence that in years to come, his most recent profound work about hosting will become common knowledge and practice too.

Trevor Durnford, Chair, International Association of Facilitators

People who do OD work on the ground and aim to foster effective organisational change will find this book extremely useful. Mark McKergow combines two models – Host Leadership and generative change – in an insightful way, illustrated by a detailed application case. This approach fits perfectly the needs of both OD workers and organisational leaders.

Susanne Burgstaller, Usolvit, Vienna, Austria

In times of constant flux, how do we host generative change? First our diagnostic approaches need to give way to the generative discussions that create emergent change. Mark McKergow writes another first, providing the guide on how leaders and facilitators can transform themselves to host these generative change events.

Carey Glass, organizational psychologist, Melbourne, Australia

If ever we needed an apt metaphor for leadership in complex times, it is now. Hosting rather than directing seems to be a much more useful way of thinking about leadership and change. There has never been a better time for leaders to start engaging their communities in facing up to a complex collective problems, and Mark McKergow’s book is a well written and lucid guide into how to do exactly that.

Mike Brent, Faculty and Professor of Practise,  Ashridge Executive Education @Hult International  Business School, co author of best-selling books The Leaders’ Guide to Influence and the Leaders’ Guide to Coaching

Call for Contributions – by 17 Feb please

Plans for the Host Leaderhip Gathering 2020 (13-15 May, Vienna) are coming together and we are seeking contributions. Would you like to lead a workshop, share your experiences of using Host Leadership in your daily work, build some great leadership development processes or talk about the impact of Host Leadership on your team, organisation and your own life? We would love to hear from you soon!

The call for contributions is now out! Please take a look, complete the simple form and send it in by Monday 17 February 2020! We know that’s not long, we want to get some excitement and energy going by quickly moving towards to full and interesting programme for the event.

We are looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Vienna in May.

NEW: Follow our blog!

We have at long last found a way to help you to get email alerts to new blogs and news here on the Host Leadership community website. Just look to the right hand side, and you’ll see a button ‘Follow the Host Leadership Community’. Click it, and you’ll be able to get notifications of events, publications, blogs and innovations right to your inbox. Go on, do it now!

Where to find the ‘Follow’ button