As i finish the first draft this week of my new ‘Handbook for Social Leadership‘, i’m sharing extracts of the text as i write. This is part of #WorkingOutLoud and, selfishly, helps me maintain momentum and energy as i get feedback (remember there are seven elements of co-creation and ‘tempo’ is one of them!)
Usual disclaimer: this is work in progress, notes and all!
The NET Model of Social Leadership is a circle: the ideas and skills it contains live in constant beta, always being refined and adapted as the ecosystem evolves around us. It’s not just technology that changes: social attitudes develop, legislation moves on, different voices become louder or less relevant, depending upon their ability to be agile. But, in as far as our journey has a start, a middle and an end (as every good story should), we have reached the final segment.
Collaboration sits at the end of ‘Technology‘, the third Dimension of the NET Model and we can, to an extent, view it as the pinnacle of Leadership. Why? Let’s explore:
Social Leaders start by defining their space, taking a stance, looking inwards and finding out what drives and motivates them and what they want to be known for. They learn how to refine their storytelling and communication skills around this core vision and then look to their communities to build reputation and authority. Along the way, they explore the purpose of those communities and their roles within them. Having done so, they seek to develop others, to safeguard them, to include them and ultimately to advance themselves, the organisations and their communities in line with best practice and what’s right.
The ability to collaborate widely, to recognise the needs of individuals and organisations and to co-create communities and situations that can serve both is part of the purpose of Social Leadership.
In this sense, Collaboration is the peak: to be able to forge fair and productive relationships, to be able to ‘make sense‘ of things, to create (and co-create) meaning and to effectively do that in an inclusive way that gets things done.
But the model is circular for a reason: because the Social Age is also about agility and fluidity: Social Leadership is consensual and contextual and we have to remain relevant. So, as we find our role and exercise our authority (through the permissions of the community), so we must revisit our stance and balance. Have we developed the right skills for today, but what skills will we need tomorrow? Are our communities strong enough, or do we need to enter, create or refine an existing one? Are our teams intact? Or do we need to develop, update or enhance them, either through development or addition (or indeed, removing someone).
Collaboration is about recognising validity in multiple viewpoints and being willing (and able) to account for them all. It’s not about decision making through democratic process: you can still exercise strong and unilateral authority (recognising that it’s permissive authority),