Monday, 10 November 2008

Leadership and Communityship

 

Select Minds Rob Cross VIEW   Several different events I attended last week got me thinking about leadership and the increasing need for this to focus on horizontal rather than just vertical relationships in organisations.

 

Henry Mintzberg on Communityship

Firstly, David Creelman sent me a link to a video interview given by Henry Mintzberg who reckons that the more fuss that is made about leadership, the worse it often is.  A major reason for this is that organisations' approaches to leadership are often about the individual, rather than the community.

So we need to think about a something rather different, that Mintzberg calls Communityship, which is about caring and working for each other (a bit like servant leadership, but with a more 'social' perspective).

Young organisations tend to do this while they're growing and energetic.  But few large ones do.  Mintzberg gave Toyota as an example of a company that does seek to work with its employees.

 

Gareth Jones on Non-hierarchical Leadership

On Thursday, I attended a short event organised by the Human Capital Institute with Harvard Business Publishing.  Gareth Jones had a rather different perspective to Henry Mintzberg, stating that the current economic situation makes it precisely the wrong time to stop thinking about leadership.

But he did seem to agree that we need to focus on a more social approach to leadership: "Leadership is a relationship so it is illuminated as much by a sociological as a psychological perspective".

Followers want community - so leaders must be community builders.  So leaders need to display a common humility and narrow social distance, collecting and discussing information about people they work with in order to build common data.

 

Rob Cross on Leading through Networks

Then later the same today, I sat in some of Select Minds' Connect conference on the web,  Rob Cross explained how successful leaders know and work through networks (see slide).

I suspect these are all things that we would do naturally with enough common humility.  But as we're all only human, they're also all actions we should consider taking more consciously if we're going to develop a better sense of communityship in our organisations.