Leading As A Host: Practical steps to engagment, performance and results in your organisations


With Dr Mark McKergow

In 2016 it’s time to refresh your leadership style! Perhaps you are one of the many leaders around the world who would like to:

• Engage your team and organisation – so they do more and you don’t get burnt out
• Draw people together effectively – both from inside and outside your organisation
• See your role as making the most of all the talent – not just telling it what to do next
• Navigate the continually changing business environment to take account of new opportunities and learnings, not just make a plan and hope for the best.

The metaphor of leading as a host, as opposed to a hero or a servant, is currently creating new waves on 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.

“Thank you for leading such a brilliant, inspiring, thought provoking and deeply practical workshop. I loved it and it resonated so much with both my working and non working journey and stage of life. Just Brilliant.” Matthew Currey, Campaigns Officer, Tearfund

In this one-day programme we will explore the landscape of host leadership together. This will be thought-provoking, it will be involving, it will be about real challenges and situations as much as new tools and frameworks. The host leadership framework sits very well alongside Solution Focused (SF) methods and ideas, and so this workshop will be particularly interesting to those with some SF experience – though this is not at all necessary.

The content will in part be based on Mark’s new book Host: SMark bookix 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 added to Mark’s trademark lively, positive and interactive style, 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.

During the workshop you will:
• Take a look at the challenges facing leaders – at all levels – in organisations and teams today
• See a spectrum of leadership styles – from directive to supportive – to connect with your own natural leadership thinking
• Meet the metaphor of leading as a host – a new yet ancient way of thinking, relevant across cultures and societies
• Discover the rich ‘hostory’ – the background to hosting and the host/guest relationship
• Connect with our six ‘roles of engagement’ – ways for a host leader to step forward
• Stand in the four positions of a host leader – different viewpoints for success
• Connect all of this with the challenges and tough situations you may be facing right now – at work, and in your life
• Meet other like-minded people who are keen to adopt a more post-heroic leadership style.

We will be connecting everything to the experience and questions of those who join us on the day – so if you are interested in bringing a new team together, re-energising an existing group, working with remote and virtual teams, working across cultures, then come along and join the dialogue with Mark and the other participants.

“Increasingly modern life leaves people feeling disconnected and distant. When you use the lessons in Host to be the most warm, gracious, and effective host your board, team, or clients have ever experienced, the effect will be all the more powerful.” Paul Wicks PhD, TED Fellow and VP of Innovation, PatientsLikeMe

Dr Mark McKergow is an international speaker, coMark McKergownsultant 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 co-author of three related books including best seller ‘The Solutions Focus’. He has been closely involved with founding both the SOLWorld network and the SFCT professional body for SF consultants and trainers. He edits the SFCT peer-reviewed journal InterAction and is a member of the Transformational Leadership Council. He lives in London, is the international network co-ordinator for the Sunday Assembly movement (http://sundayassembly.com), and also plays jazz saxophone and clarinet.

How Host Leadership has helped someone in a large organisation: Rachel’s story


Rachel has a role in academic development at London’s Royal Veterinary College, which involves making lots of connections, organising large group session and doing coaching, which she loves. However, she had struggled in the past to explain what she did – particularly to some of her managers. She is very keen on coaching and helping people find their own solutions, but had struggled to connect this kind of work with leadership. She had tried metaphors based on building bridges, but her colleagues were not convinced – “what happens if you take the bridges away – does the communication stop?” was one comment, implying that this was work of a temporary and uncertain nature. Rachel says she wasn’t comfortable with that metaphor from that point – it didn’t describe the essence of what she did. Rachel takes up the story…

“I told a colleague about my favourite role at work which is less about bridges and more about bringing people together. This involves two annual staff training days where I invite staff and students from across the College to come together and talk about current issues in teaching and learning (usually arising from my sessions with students). She said it sounded a lot like ‘hosting’ and that I should go away and read about it. Of course I went straight home and googled ‘host leadership’ and found your site and blog. I was so excited to have found something that described what I was beginning to see was my real skill!”

“When I heard about your session I was so excited and you didn’t disappoint. The new understanding I got from it was that my hosting goes on both in work and at home (the working me is the same person as the home me at long last). I have started to understand why I love the symbiotic stresses and pleasures associated with throwing a huge party/conference – and it might be ok that I am the only person around who thrives off this kind of thing.”

“I have been very protective of the ‘space to think and talk’ ethos of the workshop days I run, without knowing why this is – I have learnt over time that if you set things up right, with good topics, spaces, timings, groups of people….you can trust that the participants will bring the rich conversation. So I am a host and the guests provide the conversation – we no longer need to be talked at by experts. I now need to make this much clearer for some the facilitators who are still keen to demonstrate their own expertise rather than encourage others.”

“I also really like the fact that in hosting, the hosts might actually contribute something. In my pilot coaching sessions I am very aware of the temptation to use expertise but have always felt I was doing wrong… now I can see a framework to potentially use my expertise alongside hosting the other. I think I gave myself permission to be myself – someone who likes to host people (builders, postmen, butcher, teachers, friends, colleagues) and that this is something I can use to help other people become un-stuck in an enjoyable way. Thanks so much Mark for the inspiration and for helping me find my ‘thing’.”

Host Leadership has really helped Rachel both to clarify for herself how she likes to work, and to explain and demonstrate why she is doing it this way to others. Now the Host Leadership is becoming a ‘thing’, we can all draw inspiration and explanation together.

host leadership











29th February 2016.



Adina Hotel Budapest, 1133, Budapest, Hegedus Gyula street 52-54.


Full price: 200 EURO+vat

SFE membership price: 48.000 Ft+áfa

Download description


[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

Eventbrite - Time for a new, inspiring and practical look at leadership…