7 Key Leadership Capacities (U Theory) by C. Otto Scharmer
Agus Setiawan

PhD candidate and result-oriented Director with 25 years experience with involvement in all levels of Business Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Managing Project and Product Development. Aside of managing a company, he is also the best corporate trainer and public speaker in seminar and conference.

7 Key Leadership Capacities (U Theory) by C. Otto Scharmer

In disruptive era, leadership becomes an essential skill required for everyone, especially employee as it will helps them lead their team and organization. In order to be a good leader, employee should have leadership capacities. There are 7 key leadership capacities (commonly called U Theory) proposed by C. Otto Scharmer on his book "Uncovering the Blind Spot of Leadership".

Holding the Space

Leaders must create or "hold" a space that invites others in. The key to holding a space is listen to yourself (to what life calls you to do), listen to others (particularly others who may be related to that call), and listen to that which emerges from the collective that you convene.


Observe with an open mind by suspending your voice of judgement (VOJ). Suspending your VOJ means shutting down the habit of judging based on past experiences. Suspending your VOJ means open up a new space of inquiry and wonder. Without suspending that VOJ, attempts to get inside the places of most potential will be futile.


This capacity means seeing the system from the edges. The preparation for the experience requires the tuning of three inner instruments: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. This opening process is an active "sensing" together as a group. While an open heart allows us to see a situation from the current whole, the open will enables us to begin to sense from the whole that is wanting to emerge.


The capacity to connect to the deepest sources of self to go to the inner place of stillness where knowing comes to surface.


When a small group of change makers commit to a shared purpose, the power of their intention creates an energy field that attracts people, opportunities, and resources that make things happen. This core group and its container functions as a vehicle for the whole to manifest.


Prototyping requires the group to open up and deal with the resistance of thought, emotion, and will; moving up the right side requires the integration of thinking, feeling, and will in the context of practical applications and learning by doing.


Organizations need to perform at macro level, they need to convene the right sets of players (frontline people who are connected through the same value chain) and to engage a social technology that allows a multi-stakeholder gathering to shift from debating to co-creating the new.


To summarize, by understanding the key leadership capacity (U Theory) above, hopefully leaders will be able to maximize their leadership skills and implement those skills to their team or organization; thus, the organization success could be achieved.

Scharmer, C. (2008). Uncovering the blind spot of leadership. Leader to Leader. 2008. 52-59. 10.1002/ltl.269.

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