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Gradymcg
refining the model of collective leadership
Mar 16 2010, 10:33 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 16 2010, 10:33 AM EDT
I think Debra makes a good case for the limits of leader development, which is an expression of the increasingly anachronistic "heroic" model of leadership, and a equally good case for the power of leadership development, which taps into the wisdom and energy of the collective and focuses more directly on impact. It also makes a nice contribution by articulating the model underlying leader development, and mapping the elements of an alternative emphasis on leadership development. What remains to be done, from my point of view, is to create a new model that makes cause/result connections as explicit as the old model, while incorporating--or acknowledging--elements like those Debra points to. The Center for Creative Leadership offers one way of thinking about such a model by positing three outcomes of leadership--direction, alignment, and commitment. What I like about this model is that it leaves entirely open how one gets there and who is involved. It focuses only on results. But the model stops short of specifying community- or system-level impact, which Debra stresses. I'm thinking it would be worth exploring how to integrate these two approaches. 1  out of 1 found this valuable.

creinelt
1. RE: refining the model of collective leadership
Mar 16 2010, 1:39 PM EDT | Post edited: Mar 16 2010, 1:39 PM EDT
Your post clarifies for me that leadership is not just direction, alignment, and commitment, but also accountability for results. There is a research and learning component to leadership that is critical for social progress and social change without which we do not know what difference we are making and for whom. The interesting questions for me are: How do we collectively act and learn (e.g., hold ourselves accountable) beyond traditional systems of power and authority? What are the processes of accountability in leadership networks/ leadership learning communities? In my experience, trust, good faith, openness and transparency are critical to the process of accountability in collective leadership. I'd love to hear what others think.

kgirrell
2. RE: refining the model of collective leadership
Mar 30 2010, 8:21 AM EDT | Post edited: Mar 30 2010, 8:21 AM EDT
I am not so certain that my response falls within the realm of "collective" leadership but may rather be confined to leadership and leadership development. Catching up on all of the impact of social media and its impact on the world of leaders has been the quest of my last few weeks. My hypothesis was that all of this will force the leader to have to shift several things and as a result will alter our developmental focus as coaches (my role in all of this for the past quarter century). First the leader must shift her/his understanding of employees as single points and start seeing them portals or windows into vast networks. Secondly, leaders must shift their paraigms about how work happens (to include such things as FB and Tweeting as productive activities) moving from top-down to a hybrid of bottom-up and expert facilitation. But more importantly, leaders of this new process must shift their role from directive and causal to facilitative and supportive (in service), all of which will force the leader to develop a level of self-confidence based not on egocentrism and personal gain but on an allocentric group gain basis. The obvious impact for developmental coaches is that we help point the way. and build systems and tools that assist our clients in developing those skills and paradigm shifts.

creinelt
3. RE: refining the model of collective leadership
Mar 30 2010, 12:51 PM EDT | Post edited: Mar 30 2010, 12:52 PM EDT
I really like your metaphor that people are portals or windows into vast networks and that this knowledge will eventually transform how we practice coaching and for that matter how we engage in community organizing. As you suggest developmental coaches can be guides pointing the way; but it is in our social networks, by the actions we take in relationship to each other, that we create our future. We need more tools to help us understand what we are portals and windows to. How do we discover and leverage our connections in ways that produce "group gain" and public and socials benefits? As you suggest there is a good deal of personal work that we must all do to have the confidence to trust others with our future.

kgirrell
4. RE: refining the model of collective leadership
Mar 30 2010, 1:17 PM EDT | Post edited: Mar 30 2010, 1:17 PM EDT
Excellent point - that we need more tools to understand what we are portals to. Perhaps it is more a matter of being intentional than just being connected (do you accept every "friend" request?) I think our being intentional about connections will help us rise out of hive mentality and random movement. But I definately see a role - a significant role - for coaches to play in guiding the focus, use and impact of our social media connections. I have been telling clients that they need to rethink their understanding of relationships (that they and their employees have) but at the same time have noted how, lacking personal face-to-face relationships seems to trigger an inappropriate level of personal disclosure in cyberspace. The question becomes, how do we guide and educate people on boundaries and integrity and yet stay open to the possibilities of social networks?
This is a wild west territory and the sherrif has not yet arrived. Leaders and the people we coach in our work can play a vital role in moving this from hive mentality and into a new and dynamic realm of interaction, but we need to think up those tools and processes in conversations like this to be able to do that. I think you raise a good point - have any thoughts on how to do that???

creinelt
5. RE: refining the model of collective leadership
Apr 1 2010, 11:29 AM EDT | Post edited: Apr 1 2010, 11:45 AM EDT
Beth Kanter has a framework to help nonprofits use social media strategically. She wrote a blog on how to create your organization's social media strategy map http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2009/01/creating-your-organizations-social-media-strategy-map.html Also she developed a slideshare powerpoint on a social media strategy game workshop she offered. http://www.slideshare.net/kanter/social-media-strategy-game-workshop-final She uses a developmental approach to understand how organizations (and networks of people) master social media. Her stages are:
1. Listen
2. Engagement
3. Social content
4. Generate buzz
5. Community building and social networking
This framework is also used by the Monitor Institute and is included in the Institute's slideshare presentation on "Social Networks and Social Change".

tutormentor
6. RE: refining the model of collective leadership
Jun 12 2010, 8:13 PM EDT | Post edited: Jun 12 2010, 8:13 PM EDT
I think the idea of "intentionality" is essential to leadership. I'm in many on-line forums where people with something in common share all sorts of interesting ideas, but as a group they are not sharing a common goal of accomplishing something small, or something large and complex, that might take many years of work by many people to achieve. People who see a problem, research the problem, and begin to frame their own solutions, are going through process of leadership development. However, until the share their solution and invite others to help them, they really are not taking leadership roles. With the internet, anyone can set up a blog or forum, focused on a cause, and then learn to invite others to take part in this. They will need to define their own measures of success, and action plan/time line for year-to-year progress toward success. This is radically different than in the past when solving complex problems, was the role elected leaders, CEOs, wealth people or celebrities were expected to be the leaders, or mobilizers. Now kids in a fifth grade class in Kansas could define a problem/solution and invite people to look at their ideas. If some of those kids are still involved in solving that same problem 20 or 30 years later, that would be a real demonstration of the potential of this new capacity for leadership.

amacgillivray
7. Intentionality
Jul 18 2010, 5:53 PM EDT | Post edited: Jul 18 2010, 5:53 PM EDT
You have me thinking about "intentionality" around results vs. "intentionality" around leadership. For several years I've been focusing on what you might call collective leadership (although academics sometimes get quite adamant about the lines between approaches such as distributed, shared, relational, complex or emergent leadership--or the leaderful concept.) From what I've seen in my explorations, intentionality about some outcome (learning, progress, innovation...) is critical yet intentionality about leadership often appears to be absent. Of course it depends on how you define leadership ;-)

Apologies if I don't stay engaged with this in the short term: about to fly off the continent to a complexity workshop and won't be back until the end of the month.

Gradymcg
8. RE: Intentionality
Jul 19 2010, 7:53 AM EDT | Post edited: Jul 19 2010, 7:53 AM EDT
Thanks, Alice. I appreciate the reminder that it's easy to overlook distinctions among the many possible meanings of "collective" leadership. I struggle with how much attention to give to these nuances (mainly of concern to academics, as you note) while advocating greater recognition of the overall concept, which is still a stretch for many. When you have time--most likely on your return from the workshop--I'd find it very helpful if you were willing to share some thoughts on how you sort out the various distinctions you name, and/or the best sources for getting clear on these terms.

amacgillivray
9. RE: Intentionality
Jul 19 2010, 8:26 AM EDT | Post edited: Jul 19 2010, 8:26 AM EDT
Hi Grady; good to see your smiling face as the last pre-trip online image.

I've never been one for carving things up, except for the value of the dialogue and common context sometimes needed through such carving. I tend to go to the academic literature to see the latest on what is being said there. I think the emphasis some academics put on these things has to do with "branding" and niche as much as substantive differences.

I've not mapped out the differences, but if I were to try to do this seriously, I would probably consider a couple of axes, which I'll name power and predictability for now.

I'll use "transformational" leadership as an example for power, though--in my view--it doesn't really fit what we are talking about here. Some people consider the transformational leadership paradigm as a way of distributing leadership, but it really is in the hands of someone with power to orchestrate this. So this sits relatively close to centralized power. Whereas "distributed" (though somewhat quietly and between the lines) recognizes that the ultimate form of distributed leadership is the total disappearance of the leader-follower paradigm.

I'm not sure predictability is a great axis, but just to play with it... Traditional leadership models often assume a lot of predictability. I would have to dig back into literature to see which of these makes that assumption (which is perfectly valid for some work, but does one need "collective" leadership for such work except perhaps for buy-in?) Some of these new models--such as complex and relational--acknowledge the unpredictability of much of our work. Of these two spectra, probably the unpredictable end is even more controversial than the give-away-power end.

I'll wave as we fly somewhere near Boston (unless we go over the pole).