From Herding to Hosting

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

In order to make the point that the sky is the limit in terms of the way in which we bring people together to collaborate and ultimately realize social change, I’ve taken to showing the video clip above and the one below back-to-back in our Facilitative Leadership trainings.   The point I am trying to make is not that any one approach is necessarily better than the other, but that there are a plethora of options available to leadership between herding and hosting “the people,” and that much of this comes down to context and what we are trying to achieve.  If it is true, as Barry Oshry says, that the work of leadership is to create the conditions for systems (human and otherwise) to be able to cope with threats (survive) and prospect opportunities for development (thrive), then we will understand and embrace the vital leadership role of process designer and use it wisely.

As has been stated elsewhere and at various times on this blog, our current unpredictable times and the complex nature of social change work would appear to ask that we move away from the leadership tendency, particularly in stressful times, to suck up responsibility away from others and drive, drive, drive.  There is a particular and worthwhile challenge in perhaps counter-intuitively and more strategically stepping back, and making repeated invitations and the space for people to join and shape emergent responses (free hugs, anyone?).

What are your thoughts and reactions?

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