How does a community get the leadership that it needs to thrive?
Is it a question of finding an elite cadre of movers and shakers, networking them, hot-housing them and amplifying their power?
Or is it about offering the opportunity for anyone to ‘lead’ on whatever matters most to them, their loved ones and their neighbours?
Can we design leadership development processes that:
- support and reward mass participation?
- are inclusive rather than exclusive?
- respect local starting conditions (values, cultures and issues)?
Certainly this kind of leadership development is possible.
By giving people space to talk about what matters to them and encouraging them to think through what they can do about it and whether they want to move from words to actions we can find ‘leaders’. But they rarely see themselves as such. They don’t see their agenda as being ‘leadership’. They may see it as developing a ‘local community website’, or ‘starting an urban gardening project’ or ‘finding opportunities for young people to learn and earn in our community’. There are plenty of people looking to do plenty of good things and the truth is that what we usually describe as ‘Leadership Development’ is unlikely to help them in their work…