Event with members of Synergos staff and partners in the Philippines in 2001

Bridging Leadership

Bridging leadership is the capacity to build trust and tap the fullest contributions of diverse stakeholders, helping them come together across divides and work as partners.

It aims to create and sustain effective working relationships among stakeholders whose collective input is needed to make progress on a given social challenge. By “bridging” different perspectives and opinions often found across the breadth of different stakeholders, a common agenda can begin to be developed and shared in order to find solutions to social and economic problems.

Bridging leadership represent a paradigm shift from more traditional forms of leadership:


From leader as

  • Commander and controller
  • Expert
  • Having all the answers
  • A single intelligence
  • Head of one organization
  • Holder of power
  • All-powerful

To leader as

  • Prime mover but not owner of the solution
  • Non-expert, mobilizing the expertise of others
  • Creator of conditions where answers emerge
  • Focuser of collective attention
  • Connector between multiple organizations/institutions
  • Distributor of power
  • Open to influence

Bridging leadership skills include:

  • Listening, empathy and self-awareness;
  • Ability to connect with different audiences/stakeholders
  • Secure, with low ego needs
  • Systems thinking
  • Ability to design, convene, and manage a partnership processes.

Bridging leadership is a core component of Synergos’ body of practice.

For 30 years Synergos has both integrated bridging leadership into all of its programs, and helped train others to use and to teach bridging leadership skills.

Synergos offers bridging leadership training that takes the participant through a series of interconnected steps, beginning with ownership and personal mastery of the issues to the creation of a collective vision and joint action to overcome obstacles and challenges. This process develops and enhances the capacity of leaders to be more resilient, think systemically and proactively collaborate.