Abstract network with nodes
Thinking systemically is essential for congregational leaders!
Systems Sensibility for Leadership Development

Systems Sensibility may be the most important of the recommended leadership development competencies—it includes:

  • The ability to understand that we are all interconnected and interrelated.
  • Understanding that a change in one part can have an effect on the other parts, even if we can’t see direct causation.
  • Developing the practice and skill of looking at systems as a whole
  • Understanding the idea of mental models and how we can challenge our own.

Core Values

We respect and participate in the interconnected web of all existence grounded in our growing understanding of systems from the discoveries of Quantum Physics, Process Theology and American Pragmatism.


  • Participate in Study/Reflection groups with others who are developing their own systems sensibility.
  • Use an Adaptive Leadership lens when looking at organizational issues.
  • Learn how to "Get on the Balcony," i.e. look at the system as a whole.



Web Articles

In-Depth Courses

  • Your regional staff provides Systems Sensibility as the main part of the various leadership schools.
  • You may wish to invite a trained Healthy Congregations® consultant to offer a series of trainings for your congregation or cluster.  Contact your regional staff for recommendations.
  • The UU Leadership Institute offers inexpensive online version of in-depth systems courses:  Centered Leadership 100& 101 and the more advanced Leading Adaptively 401.

On-Demand Webinars



About the Authors

  • Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. She serves congregation in Northeast Ohio and Western New York. She is part of the LeaderLab Design team providing Leadership Development resources and other trainings to congregations.
  • For more information, see the UUA.org page about the Central East Region .

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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