Host Leadership | 3 Day Masterclass

Brisbane 14th-16th November 18
$1975 per person (Includes GST)

The metaphor of leading as a host, as opposed to a hero or a servant, is currently creating new waves in the leadership and agile scene. Much current leadership thinking seems to put the focus on the leader. We think this is a mistake. Leading is about a relationship – between the leader and the others. The word ‘followers’ is not a great term for those people. It takes two to have a relationship – but the leader is only one person, one end of a relationship. This is particularly important in the flat and project-based organisational forms appearing today.
Host Leadership is about building relationships – at work, in the community, in society, at home – to engage others. This engagement is the key ingredient that leads to increased performance and results. The art of hosting is as ancient as humanity itself – and it can also provide a rich and inspiring framework for many practical leadership skills and ideas – particularly where you need to use influence rather than hard power.

Host Leadership_Mark McKergow_Southpac InternationalIn this three-day programme, we will explore the landscape of host leadership in detail together. This will be thought-provoking, it will be involved, it will be about real challenges and situations as much as new tools and frameworks. This will be a deep-dive into the world of host leadership; complexity, uncertainty, flexibility, awareness and activity. Together we can look at how Host Leadership can be applied with Safety II and HOP principles as an effective modern leadership framework.

The content will be based on Mark’s book Host: Six new rules roles of engagement for teams, organisations, communities and movements (Solutions Books, 2014), which introduced the six roles and four positions for a Host Leader. The book is a rich resource – but when Mark adds his trademark lively, positive and interactive activities into the mix, it all comes to life in a new and life-enhancing way. This programme will help you at work – and also at home, in your relationships, in your life

“I find the concept of leader as host presented in this book to be a very practical and balanced way to think about leadership. Host is very helpful in breaking down daunting situations into manageable parts, which then reveals constructive next steps. Indeed, there were a couple of times while reading it where I stopped to perform a small step or send an invitation inspired by the insight gained from the book.”
Daniel McCoy, Pixar Inc.

The Programme

This outline is a starting point.  The workshop will emerge and develop as we work together, varying the content and flow in response to the interests of the group.  The morning and afternoon sessions will be different in character. The morning sessions will feature new ideas, intellectual stimulation, learning activities. The afternoon sessions, while still including new material, will be more practical, more focused on your experience and on your situations.

Day 1: A new look at leadership

Morning session: Exploring the metaphor of host as leader
• Welcome and introduction
• What does it mean to be a host? Stepping forward and back
• Hosting: What do hosts do?
• What leadership challenges are we facing in our work?
• Leadership in the 21st century – current challenges and paradoxes
• Three leadership relationships – hero, servant, host
• Introducing the six roles of host leaders – overview

Afternoon session: Four positions for a host leader
• Stepping forward and back – four positions for a host leader
o In the spotlight
o With the guests
o In the gallery
o In the kitchen
• Connecting the six roles and four positions with our everyday work: Where do we already spend time? Where do we need to spend more time?
• Connecting host leadership with a real challenge
• Headspace reflection

Day 2: Host leadership in action

Morning session: Stepping forward and back – the dance of leadership
• Review
• Stepping forward and back – an exploration
• Host leadership self-assessment
• Using soft power – alongside, or instead of, hard power
• Applying Host thinking to projects 1: The Initiator role – defining your focus
• Initiating to engage others – building your platform

Afternoon session: Soft power and smart power
▪ Applying Host thinking to projects 2: The Inviter role
▪ Creating great invitations – how to get people involved and invited
▪ Applying Host thinking to projects 3: The Gatekeeper role
▪ Welcoming people over the threshold – the art of ‘house rules’
▪ Keeping on track – flexing the container size and strength
▪ Leadership challenges – tackling a real situation from the group using our SFRT process
▪ Headspace reflection

Day 3: Creating a better future in teams, organisations and communities

Morning session: Hosting spaces and conversations
▪ Review
• The Space Creator role
• Looking at how space works – here and at home
▪ The Connector role
▪ Connecting at three levels
▪ Connecting with other people
▪ Connecting other people
▪ Seeing connection
▪ The power of connecting

Afternoon session: Bringing everything together
• The User’s Guide to the Future
• Leadership challenges – all work on these, with buddy coaching
• Dynamic responsiveness
• Reviewing and revisiting the roles and positions
• Headspace reflection
• Closing ceremony and next steps

About your facilitator

Mark McKergow

Mark McKergow, Director at Host Leadership is spreading and exploring the exciting new yet ancient metaphor of leading as a host.

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About your Facilitator

Mark McKergow

Dr Mark McKergow is an international speaker, consultant and teacher. A ‘recovering physicist’, his work over more than two decades has focused on responsive and emergent approaches to complex situations. Mark has developed and hosted many aspects of the international Solutions Focus (SF) community since 2000, and is a co-author of three related books including best seller ‘The Solutions Focus’. He has specialised in developing practical frameworks which work with complexity rather than trying to simplify it and has worked on every continent except Antarctica.

Mark started his career as a physicist in the nuclear energy industry, in which role he was heavily involved in safety studies and processes. He subsequently designed and led safety leadership courses for senior managers in the nuclear industry. Mark has been a member of the Transformational Leadership Council and combines scientific rigour and performance pizzazz in his work. His ground-breaking work on Host Leadership is opening up a whole new paradigm for leaders grappling with the complex and fluid world of work. He now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he also plays jazz saxophone.
Find out more about Mark at and

Mark is co-author of the book: Host: Six new rules roles of engagement for teams, organisations, communities and movements (Solutions Books, 2014).

Mark McKergow, Director at Host Leadership is spreading and exploring the exciting new yet ancient metaphor of leading as a host.

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