From the President

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A Deep Dive into Polycentric Leadership

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I was interviewed recently by Asia Leadership Development Network’s Baolerhu Ligden for their Unleash Podcast series. The interview dove into my doctoral thesis about "Polycentric Leadership," overviewing key attributes of this new approach to leading in our global world.

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Collaborative, communal leadership
empowering multiple centers of influence and
a diverse array of leaders to meet today's challenges.

"For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” — Romans 12:4-5 (NIV)

In the interview, I outlined six important themes discovered during my dissertation research that define the overarching parameters of a Polycentric Leadership model. If you would like to learn more about Polycentric Leadership and get a sense of what it's all about, I encourage you to watch my interview here and then read more on our website (link below). Perhaps it’ll lead you on a journey like mine.

Or watch on Facebook: Click here...

Here is the description they used for this episode...

Description of Unleash Podcast, Episode #7

In today's episode, we will discuss the topic of “Polycentric leadership” proposed by Dr. Joseph Handley. Polycentric leadership is an approach to leadership drawing from multiple centers of influence. The influence comes from every sphere within a movement or organization and harnesses the collective wisdom of the leaders within that network or partnership. This type of leadership embodies six themes discovered in the research.

  • 1. Charisma
  • 2. Collaborative
  • 3. Communal
  • 4. Relational
  • 5. Diverse
  • 6. Entrepreneurial

In essence, a polycentric model of leadership is a model that is a collaborative form of leadership. It’s a leadership that forms in community, drawing from the diversity of the movement or organization to provide wisdom, guidance, and direction. It gives freedom to each location (region, function, location, etc.) to operate based on the common, collective commitments determined by the community and shaped by the purpose or mission of the business. It is a model that has historical precedent and continues to grow. It is a model that shares many strengths with other leadership models and theories and one that holds promise for future global leadership. The model was discovered in looking at governance models in various industries for several decades. It’s also increasingly being tapped for global business operations. It was tested by reviewing it in light of the Northhouse methodology of reviewing leadership theories and compared/contrasted with the strong studies on Global CEO’s from the GLOBE Study.


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Asia Leadership Development Network is almost like a network that birthed out of Asian Access. In actuality, they are a sister organization that formed looking at our principles and share a lot in common with us. I am proud of them and have walked closely by their side since their formation. 

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Rev. Joseph W. Handley, Jr., Ph.D.
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Joe joined Asian Access as president in 2008 and has logged many miles traveling across the Asian continent. One thing he has learned is to platform other leaders. In this blog, he hopes to share some of their stories that will encourage you to engage with Asian Access that strives to change the few, who change the many.

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Collaborative, communal leadership
empowering multiple centers of influence and
a diverse array of leaders to meet today's challenges.

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