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Leadership and Networks Partner Call - Part 2This is a featured page

July 22, 2010 12:00 - 1:00 PM



Network Leadership: Skills, Challenges and Areas of Opportunity

We recently had a call with some of the individuals who are partnering with us to develop the Leadership and Networks publication, which is part of the Leadership for a New Era Series. The participants included Gibran Rivera, Interaction Institute for Social Change; Eugene Kim, Blue Oxen Associates; Kendra Harris, East Caroline University; Grady McGonagill, McGonagill Associates; Diana Scearce, Monitor Institute; Patti Anklam, independent consultant, and the Leadership Learning Community team. This was a unique opportunity to engage such a diverse group of thought leaders in reflecting about the most crucial questions and ideas related to network leadership.
The group is using the following framework to guide the exploration of the intersection between leadership and networks:
(Note: The size of the bubbles varies according to the amount of content that has already been created for that particular topic on the Network Leadership page).
Here are some of the insights that emerged during our conversation:
  • In what contexts are we exploring network leadership?
    • Much of our focus has been on how to practice network leadership while working within hierarchical organizations
    • An unexplored area of opportunity is looking at how network leadership emerges within communities
    • A good place to look at network leadership is cross-organizational and cross-sector partnerships created to address issues like school readiness for underrepresented groups
    • Network leadership in the military is an interesting context because leadership and control have distinct meanings
  • How are we conceptualizing network leadership?
    • We need a model of leadership that is comprehensive enough to include hierarchical leadership and networked/collective leadership.
    • “Free agents” are those who are not attached to organizations but have an increasingly important role mobilizing networks.
    • The network leadership conversation is overlapping with the network capacity-building conversation.
  • How do we cultivate network leadership?
    • Communities of practice are a good network leadership development tool
    • Use a case study highlighting an organization that works in a networked way and present a dilemma where someone comes in operating with a traditional leadership mindset
    • Make room for working in networks, structure time in such a way that allows for building trust, making connections, and establishing rapport for working together – otherwise ‘network building’ may become a technical exercise
  • What are network leadership challenges?
    • Creating the time and space to build trusting relationships
    • Building trust among people in communities when they are structurally situated as leaders of organizations
    • People with spare time are the people with power in a network
    • Free agents are perceived by many organizations as a threat not an asset
    • Language of networks may not be helpful in moving people towards a new mindset
  • Questions we still want to address:
    • How can a network mindset be cultivated and supported?
    • What are core network leadership competencies?
    • How does network leadership emerge through a collective process in communities?
    • How do we make the case for using network leadership for leadership programs who are on the fence and unsure about the importance of this approach?
    • How do we help people overcome the fear of using network strategies?
    • What is the capacity of individuals to organize without organizations using technology?
We invite you to join the conversation and share your ideas and questions about network leadership.



nataliallc
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