Led or Leader?

In the Social Age, the distinction is far from clear: as we move beyond the boundaries of formal authority and into the social ‘sense making’ spaces where we are most effective, roles are fluid, contextual, adaptive and impermanent. Indeed, the Social Leader most often is willing to set aside the mantle of leadership to help the community succeed.

Led or Leader?

It depends what model of leadership you subscribe to: the Leader as authority figure with all the knowledge and all the power, or the Social Leader as facilitator and enabler, helping others figure out what to do and supporting them in getting it done. Leadership with humility.

So the starting point for Leadership Development should probably not be the skills and competencies of the Leader, but rather the question, ‘What type of leadership do we need’? Do we need to be led, or empowered to lead, together, from within.

Humility in Leadership

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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3 Responses to Led or Leader?

  1. Agree humility is a differentiator of leadership and more important in the social age. Would also wonder want role credibility, in terms of setting a direction that followers believe in, or authenticity, a person you believe in. Would argue both are needed in all leadership spaces.

    Is humility the action of giving others the space to develop ideas, directions and solutions? To then engage with those views – perhaps with an element of leader as coach?

    The idea that the story of the organisation is created by an individual, who then convinces the stock markets that she/he will deliver the promise – seems a long way from the Social Age premise you suggest. How might a CEO bridge this gap?

    Thoughts welcome.

    • julianstodd says:

      I think authenticity is central to notions of Social Authority and reputation. It’s a great leveller: organisations cannot buy authenticity, only earn it. But individuals with highly authentic authority can carry a loud voice.

      Regarding humility: it’s about accepting that the role of the leader is not to have all the great ideas, but rather to help others develop their great ideas. About a willingness to learn from social as well as formal stories. Or at least, that’s part of the story…

  2. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

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