Graph theory applied to leadership

The orange circle represents the leader of the school, the lines between the circles represent the relationships between people. Which school would you rather work in?

Everyone connected but only through the leader


Almost everyone connected to each other

Which school do you think functions better when the leader is away? 



  • Here’s my 2 cents.

    Depends on what the goal is for the communication. Would you agree with me that the many connections (bottom) increases the intelligence of the graph as a whole. There is better group think and better awareness for all parties involved on whats happening, goals, directions that the graph (organization) is heading.

    However, the consequences of all these connections is the communication load / distraction it puts on individual nodes. Instead of all the communication being between one person you and your head supervisor you have to listen to all the noise of the other nodes on the graph.

    For me I would prefer the top structure one to one node relationship vs one to many for daily activities. I would like to add in that I would want by monthly sessions where all nodes are gathered together to open up the many to many connections to help re-align the directions, goals, and news that affects the graph (organization) as a whole.

    Hope that made sense, def a good question to ask yourself though. I’ve worked in organizations where there were many chiefs and no Indians which is how I think the many to many model would feel like and it was a nightmare. To much talking not enough doing if you know what I mean.

    I’ve also worked where its one to one you take orders you perform tasks. That’s okay and great but after a few month’s you want some flexibility you want to branch and and see what other people are doing and feel like your part of the group think per say.

    Though inspiring post thanks David

  • David Wees wrote:

    The lines represent relationships, not necessarily the flow of power, although in most relationships there is a distribution of power, so both are partially true. In any case, I don’t there are any schools which are strictly like the first picture, but there are schools which approximate it to some degree. I can’t imagine working in a place where every decision was made by one person. 

  • Up until recently, establishing crossover lines was a covert operation.

Leave a Reply

Your email is never shared.Required fields are marked *