During times of severe crisis and turmoil, as experienced globally in the last few years, leadership is a critical resource in staying connected with social and organizational reality. This presentation will first describe how the 33 Chilean miners, trapped almost two-thousand feet below ground for 69 days, shared forms of leadership that activated group resilience. Qualitative data reveals how the miners as a group engaged in shared agency. A sophisticated work capacity and a constructive relational dynamic evolved, helping them absorb severe strain and anxiety. Their distribution of leadership was essential for promoting collective sense-making and emotional containment. There will also be an opportunity to think together about how some of what has been learned from this paradigmatic case might be applied to contemporary organizations within their complex and shifting reality.
The symbiotic lure permeates the practice of organizational management and change facilitation. It can also be observed by researchers when they cross the boundary of an organization and as they 'open up' the organization in the research process. Diamond (1988) uses the symbiotic lure as a metaphor for understanding psychological regression in organizations. It is a reaction to anxiety in which members of a group or organization “[deny] their individual differences and psychologically [merge] with each other”, often against an "other". Leaders, when enacting effective containment, play a key role in managing the symbiotic lure to prevent its potentially devastating consequences in organizations and society.