Leadership .... anyone?
I wonder if I haven't missed something vital.
We have web2 which is going to afford freedoms, collaboration, sharing, democratic voice. I love everything about this. It fills me with optimism because this vision is based on a wonderful model of humanity - favouring and drawing on its best aspects.
The thing which concerns me a little is that I feel that in this new networked world, and in many of our discussions, the focus is very much on what is expected of the membership organisation. How can organisations increase engagement, inspire innovation, enable the networks to develop and grow fruitfully....?
What about the responsibilities of the members? If members are to have this new ability to voice and share their opinions at what point does self-reflection shift toward the individual members and their contributions to the organisation?
The standard membership mindset is to look to the organisation as a provider of some sort and to judge whether the leadership is filling those requirements. The danger is that with the abilities we now have to make our views widespread through blogs etc the leadership of member organisations comes under what could be considered unproductive pressures. In politics these pressures are seen to be part of the deal, but is the same true in schools for example, which can be considered member communities too?
Schools are increasingly looking at conducting 360s on Headteachers. The dangers here seem clear. Start making leaders run their organisations by popularity politics and you can easily end up with wishywashy/autocratic leaders and/or dominant members.
What exactly do we NOW expect from leadership both within the organisation and within the membership? How do leaders remain open, listening and inclusive while still actually leading? Every time a leader says 'no' to something she or he now runs a much greater risk of meaningful fallout - particularly if the 'no' is directed at influential members. It happens all the time. Your child doesn't get through the audition, is kept in school as sanction, is kept as sub....
Are members, by potentially immoderate use of new tools for sharing, in danger of turning leaders into smiling managers or just invisible semi-enablers?
I really hope not.
What I do hope is that more leaders will blog and stay open, regardless of the dangers... and that more members will become self-reflective and responsible. I agree so much that the first stop for creating a membership organisation, as so many have said on this site already, is to take care of the human needs first... and create a supportive Connection Culture, which works both ways. http://thrivingtoo.typepad.com/thriving_too/2008/04/connection-cult.html
"I believe we must place much greater emphasis on what I call 'the learning society' - a society that learns to listen to itself, reflect on itself, and create new possibilities for its future." Richard Harwood
Pic from http://www.marmar.nu/photography.htm