What do we expect to see in a sociocracy "leadership biopsy"?

A “biopsy” in the context of sociocracy leadership refers to an examination or assessment of the leadership practices and dynamics within an organization or group that follows the principles of sociocracy.

Conducting a sociocracy “leadership biopsy” involves observing and evaluating certain key aspects.

Here are some expectations of what you might expect to see in a sociocracy “leadership biopsy”:

  1. Distributed leadership:

In a sociocracy “leadership biopsy”, you would expect to see evidence of distributed leadership. This means that leadership roles and responsibilities are spread across various individuals and circles within the organization. Look for indications that decision-making authority is shared and that individuals at different levels (from general to more specific or local) have the opportunity to take on leadership roles.

  1. Consent-based decision-making:

Sociocracy emphasizes consent-based decision-making, where proposals are accepted unless there are reasoned objections. In a sociocracy “leadership biopsy”, you would expect to see examples of consent being sought and valued in decision-making processes. Look for evidence that decisions are made collaboratively and that all voices are considered before reaching a consent.

  1. Effective circle governance:

Sociocracy organizes individuals into circles or teams based on specific functions or areas of responsibility (domains). In a sociocracy “leadership biopsy”, you would expect to see well-functioning circles with clear aims, roles, and processes. Look for evidence of effective circle governance meetings, where decisions are made, tensions are addressed, and communication flows smoothly.

  1. Double-linking and information flow:

Sociocracy utilizes a double-linking system to ensure communication and coordination between circles. In a sociocracy “leadership biopsy”, you would expect to see evidence of effective double-linking, where information and decisions flow in both directions of the circular hierarchy. Look for indications that delegates from child circles are actively participating in the parent circle meetings, sharing relevant information, being “the voice” and representing the interests of their circles.

  1. Open and inclusive communication:

Sociocracy promotes open and inclusive communication within the organization. In a sociocracy “leadership biopsy”, you would expect to see evidence of a culture of transparency, active listening, and respectful dialogue. Look for indications that individuals feel comfortable expressing their opinions, that conflicts are addressed constructively, and that communication channels are accessible to all.

  1. Feedback mechanisms and continuous improvement:

Sociocracy encourages regular feedback loops and evaluation processes. In a sociocracy 'leadership biopsy", you would expect to see evidence of feedback mechanisms and a commitment to continuous improvement. Look for indications that individuals have opportunities to provide feedback, that evaluation processes are in place, and that adjustments are made based on the feedback received.

A sociocracy “leadership biopsy” aims to assess the extent to which the principles and practices of sociocracy are being applied within the organization.

By evaluating these aspects, you can gain insights into the effectiveness of sociocracy’s leadership approach and identify areas for improvement or further development.

If you want to share your personal reflections on this topic, please feel free to do so in a comment below. Thank you.

Best wishes!


  1. Start here:

  2. Sociocracy – basic concepts and principles:

  3. Why Sociocracy For All (SoFA)?

  4. Social Justice Statement of Sociocracy For All:

  5. Sociocracy For All in the news

  6. Sociocracy basic resources

  7. SoFA Membership - Why join Sociocracy For All?

  8. Sociocracy Training

  9. More sociocracy resources: articles and videos

  10. SoFA events

  11. Many Voices One Song – A sociocracy manual

  12. Who Decides Who Decides? - How to start a group so everyone can have a voice!

  13. Let’s decide together - The definitive guidebook for practicing decision-making with children

  14. Meeting Evaluation Cards - This is the Meeting Evaluation Cards product by Sociocracy For All

  15. Case studies

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