Sunday, September 14, 2008

We need to be Leaderful not Leaderless.

I have describe in earlier posts that a larger community of leaders on a team brings balance, more collaboration and greater success to the work of teams. With shared leadership, everyone has an opportunity to lead. Leadership is a decision that you make, not a title bestowed.

My recent study of shared leadership led me to the insight of Professor Joe Raelin of Northeastern University that I encountered in his book Creating Leaderful Organizations: How to Bring Out Leadership in Everyone.

Raelin's concept of leaderful practice resonated with me immediately in his preface where he declares that leaderful practice "directly challenges the conventional view of leadership as 'being out in front.'....everyone shares the experience of serving as leader, not sequentially, but concurrently and collectively."

I appreciate the leaderful paradigm that comes from Raelin's work. I have always been challenged with the leaderless concept that appears in some shared leadership models. Even though an organization or team might not have a titled leader, the need for leadership does not disappear. The term leaderless doesn't feel right. A team still needs vision, relating and inventing, all activities associated with leadership. The leaderful paradigm is a perfect counterpoint that suggests that more leadership, not less leadership, is the appropriate organizational goal. Leaderful suggests that there is a leadership opportunity for everyone.

I intend to continue my review of the Raelin book. If you are interested in the core leaderful tenets, you can get an introduction from the Leaderful Institute web site.

My immediate Quiet Leader call to action however, is to ask the question, Am I supporting and cultivating the leadership efforts of my teamates in order to form a more leaderful team? Are you?

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and leaderfully.


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