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Location: Leadership for a New Era Discussion Forum

Discussion: Growing need for new leadership modelsReported This is a featured thread

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RossWirth42
Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 5 2009, 10:42 AM EDT | Post edited: Aug 5 2009, 10:43 AM EDT
While the need for shared or collaborative leadership is already the main focus here, there is a higher order need for such leadership models across society. I would like to draw your attention to a recent working paper that examines what cities (concept can be expanded to nearly any grouping) need to do smarter in order to address the challenges they face. Success in building knowledge within LNE can easily drive change in many areas identified in this working paper.
http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-141.pdf
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Keyword tags: purpose social change

KenOtter
1. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 5 2009, 3:19 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 5 2009, 3:19 PM EDT
""While the need for shared or collaborative leadership is already the main focus here, there is a higher order need for such leadership models across society."

"
I found a lot in the paper of interest. I concur the paper describes well a much needed leadership perspective for large complex social systems such as cities. In reading the paper, I do not think she views the kind of capacity building and network relations in cities reflecting a perspective of leadership. But it seems from your comments that you do. Can you say more about you link what she is describing and the model of leadership you think it reflects?
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RossWirth42
2. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 5 2009, 4:21 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 5 2009, 4:21 PM EDT
Central to movement toward smarter cities is the necessary leadership to convene groups around a common agenda. The initial difficulty lies in there being no one individual with clear authority to do this. While many might have a vested interest in the outcome, there is no existing hierarchy that would provide clear authority for calling such a group together. Even if someone in a high political office were to take the initiative, there would be pushback from political opponents, those in adjoining fiefdoms, and those outside the politician’s direct authority, people who would still need to be encouraged to become involved. Such leadership requires active networking, a collaborative attitude, and acceptance of an uncertain outcome. Yet, the action also requires the ability to articulate a clear overarching vision of what might be possible “if only.” I believe most of the pieces are available across the wide practice and theory of leadership. However, the working paper mentioned above jumps over the necessary leadership initiative and competency required to address the messy problems. Do you find this valuable?    

creinelt
3. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 6 2009, 2:11 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 6 2009, 2:11 PM EDT
Thanks for sharing this paper Ross. One of the things we've found in our evaluation work is that when place-based leadership programs focus on developing inner leadership and building relationships among a diverse group of peers, leadership bridges are built between organizations, neighborhoods, and across sub-fields of the nonprofit sector (e.g., education, arts, human services, community development, health, environment) that are critical for creating "smarter cities". Too often we undervalue the inner work of leadership and the relationship-building that form the foundation for collaboration across boundaries. This work, when combined with reflection and learning, enables leaders to develop a more integrated, aligned vision for their community as a whole, that puts their organizational work in a different perspective (more focused on mission sustainability instead of organizational sustainability). While these are certainly challenging times for cities and for nonprofit organizations, those communities with strong networks and an infrastructure for collaboration seem likely to fare much better and be able to adapt to the changes that are needed. I'd be interested in what others have found works to develop and support leadership with a deep capacity for collaboration. Do you find this valuable?    

KenOtter
4. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 7 2009, 12:12 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 7 2009, 12:12 PM EDT
Thank you for your elaboration. I share your view that convening groups around a common agenda is key. In my work in communities, it is not a person or people with authority that make this happen. It is as you say "active networking, a collaborative attitude, and acceptance of an uncertain outcome," as key components which contribute to bringing people together to work across boundaries and collaboratively. In my experience people come together because the invitation, the process, and the intended outcomes make sense, and fulfill needs and interests. And in the community settings in which I have worked this happens in small groups which ideally get stitched together over time to encompass progressively larger networks. Do you find this valuable?    

KenOtter
5. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 7 2009, 12:17 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 7 2009, 2:15 PM EDT
This is very well said. The community meetings I have convened and facilitated focus on certain task but also on educating and developing the capacities of people for constructive conversations, critical reflection, and the ability to make meaning from diverse perspectives. All of that is inner work to me. In my experience collaboration requires a lot of intra and inter personal skills and maturity. And if these skills and capacities are not getting attention in the other areas of people's lives then they need to get attention in the community work, otherwise the collaborative efforts will go nowhere fast. Do you find this valuable?    

creinelt
6. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Aug 7 2009, 1:15 PM EDT | Post edited: Aug 7 2009, 1:15 PM EDT
I've just been reading a great book that I think is relevant to this thread. The well-connected community: A networking approach to community development. Alison Gilchrist is the author. Has anyone else read it? It clearly lays out the case for investing in and supporting networks as a community development strategy. Her context is primarily place-based community development, but I also thought there were many lessons that were just as applicable to communities of learning and practice. Well worth reading. It provides a really lucid theoretical framework that is grounded in the practice of community-building. 1  out of 1 found this valuable. Do you?    

aerindunford
7. RE: Growing need for new leadership models
Sep 23 2009, 1:06 PM EDT | Post edited: Sep 23 2009, 1:06 PM EDT
Thanks for the recommendation of this book, Claire. I will try to get hold of it next time I'm in the States. It sounds very interesting.
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