The Power of a Leader

I’ve been revisiting the Social Leadership ‘Power and Potential’ enquiry framework today, as part of a session exploring ‘the point of a leader’.

Is the role of a leader to put energy into a system, or to create space for others to find energy?

Is the role of a leader to give direction, or help people to find it?

Does the power of a leader sit within a formally defined role, in opposition to a formal system, or simply in the belief of others – or somewhere else?

Is the role to enforce rules, to deal with transgressions, or to find excellence and opportunity?

Or all of these things and more?

Will leadership be held in both formal and social contexts by one person, or by various people in different parts of one system?

I guess we could ask ‘has leadership become more complex’, or was it always this complex – has the context or ecosystem changed and hence that nature of what we need has changed. Or not.

I suspect that ‘leadership’, whatever that means (or as Donald Clarke would say, despite it having no meaning at all) is perhaps not a ‘thing’, so much as a space, or a bundle of needs, that may be met by a formal type of power or system, or a social one. We are quite literally a different type of leader in different spaces, and maybe the specific capability we need is the ability to diagnose context, and to draw upon varied types of power?

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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