Understanding the changed “ecosystem” we live in today, we see that the “command and control” approach to leadership is not what the times require. It is not the approach that will get the best from our people nor will it be the approach that solves the complex and multifaceted challenges that we face today.
The days of the individual on the white horse swooping into town to save the day are long gone. The challenges we face are too much for any one person to solve. Instead, I would suggest the times require a “command with limited or no control” approach.
The Community Builder has the ability to marshal human capital – intelligence, passion, work effort, innovation – of the various stakeholders they interact with and move them towards a common goal. Rather than leaders who require, we’re looking for leaders who inspire.
The Community Builder brings significant value to those they serve and those they lead. They channel the energy of stakeholders by acting as a catalyst, convener and force multiplier. The Community Builder has the capacity and skill to tap into the collective intelligence of all stakeholders to create great plans that have deep buy-in and produce meaningful solutions and tangible results.
I would suggest that today’s effective leaders are authentic, honest, direct, and comfortable in their own skins. They care about others and do what’s best for the broader good.
While it may seem simplistic, perhaps the kind of leadership I’ve described does not need to be all that complicated. It may just boil down to four leadership competencies:
- First of all, we want our leaders to be agents of change who understand, demonstrate, and exert influence by building trusting relationships. We are hungry for leaders who have the courage, passion, and motivation that is respected by others so that barriers can be addressed and overcome.
- Next we want leaders who are optimistic, proactive, big picture, systems thinkers. That big picture or systems approach is essential because the issues in our country, communities and businesses are too complicated to be solved by any one person or sector.
- We want leaders who are committed to continuous improvement for themselves, for others, and for their organizations. That of course doesn’t happen without strong values, a moral compass, and a code of conduct that reflects those values.
- We don’t expect leaders to do it by themselves either because we want them to be catalysts for encouraging responsibility in others and for engaging and cultivating a sense of pride and ownership.
Change is here, but it’s not trickling down from an ivory tower. It’s coming from the bottom up, from leaders who recognize they may not be able to change the whole “big bad” world, but they can handle their little corner of it.
I believe every individual, every organization, every neighborhood and every community is one idea, one voice, one action, one person away from being better tomorrow than it was yesterday. By understanding the leadership competencies the times require, you can be that one person!
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