Democracy is evolving. There are many disparaging comments about today’s leaders – but what a job! The new Wheatley-Frieze book says we must recognise we are all in this together. We can no longer depend on one heroic leader because there are no straight forward answers to today’s complex and interconnected issues. The days of command and control are over.
A wise leader today knows that while he/she doesn’t have all the answers, other people have the skills, capacities, knowledge and insight to contribute – and that together they can get things moving.
A leader-as-host also knows people are more likely to support what they have had a part in creating, and so they create meaningful conversations – amongst other things – that bring together a range of different people.
“Hosting leaders create substantive change by relying on everyone’s creativity, commitment and generosity. They learn from first-hand experience that these qualities are present in just about everyone and in every organisation. They extend sincere invitations, ask good questions and have the courage to support risk-taking and experimentation”.
We need to be patient with our leaders AND we also need to step up.
This much anticipated new book from Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze has just been launched. The Transition Liverpool (UK) comments above could be a wake-up call for pollies…but I seriously wonder if they ever get off the focus group treadmill long enough to reflect on big picture social change?
The authors take the reader to seven communities around the world – Mexico, Brazil, US, South Africa, Greece, Zimbabwee, India – to meet people who have walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities.
People in Columbus, Ohio, are using the new system to address complex problems, such as healthcare, homelessness, poverty, public safety. Listen to Tuesday Ryan-Hart speak about the Columbus experience here.
Hosting leaders are using their ingenuity and caring to figure out how to work with what they have to create what they need.
Hosting leaders must:
1. Provide conditions and good group processes for people to work together
2. Provide resources of time, the scarcest commodity of all
3. Insist that people and the system learn from experience, frequently
4. Offer unequivocal support – people know the leader is there for them
5. Keep the bureaucracy at bay, creating oases (or bunkers) where people are less encumbered by senseless demands for reports and administrivia
6. Play defense with other leaders who want to take back control, who are critical that people have been given too much freedom
7. Reflect back to people on a regular basis how they’re doing, what they’ve accomplished and how far they’ve journeyed
8. Work with people to develop relevant measures of progress to make their achievements visible
9. Value conviviality and esprit de corps -not false rah-rah activities but the spirit that arises in any group that accomplished difficult work together
WHAT IF industry/community groups as well as pollies/bureaucrats worked TOGETHER as above?