Why internal audit needs chaordic leadership

Leadership is traditionally based on models of control through hierarchy and culture. Managing employees through compelled behaviour. It is such a fundamental element of organisational design that is rarely recognised let alone challenged. Everyone accepts it as normal and yet internal auditors see some of its dysfunctional aspects on a regular basis when employees repeatedly do a task that is inefficient or ineffective because ‘it’s not my place to ask why’ or ‘I do what I am told to do’.

There is a different model worthy of consideration - chaordic leadership. It is not a new concept but one that has potential for internal audit as it is rooted in relationship management.

It creates a sense of shared purpose and in doing so redefines the responsibilities of leaders; managing self, managing those who have authority over you (audit committee chair), managing peers (executives) and managing those over whom you have authority (internal auditors).

Why is it not mainstream you ask? Good question. Perhaps because it is not easy to implement. It requires leaders to change their mindset, values and leave ego at the door.

Are you open minded enough to challenge your way of thinking?

At first glance a murmur of starlings appears chaotic, then when the patterns emerge one looks for the lead bird signalling the movement yet there is no leader. It is a phenomenon known as scale-free correlation with flock movement governed by all the birds, each taking cues from those nearest to it.

Could an organisation or internal audit function operate in a similar way?

This thought leadership piece takes the concept of chaordic leadership and challenges you to think about how it could be applied in your function.

Chaordic not chaotic

Chaordic leadership is not about chaos. It sits at the heart of one…