Institutional Leadership vs. Networked Leadership

Tags: Ecademy, coaching, training, leadership, creating space

By John Jeckmansclip_image001clip_image002 

Common denominator is leadership. So, what is leadership?
According Wikipedia: Leadership is and has been described as the "process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task". A definition more inclusive of followers comes from Alan Keith of Genentech who said "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen."
I like the last one, but would like to amend it as follows:
"True leadership is ultimately about creating space for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen, something worthwhile in furthering the development our society in total."
If whatever you set out to do, whatever people, project, organisation, enterprise, country, etc. you lead is only self-serving and does not contain something that is for the benefit of all, it will require repression, actively pushing people. If it is of benefit to all, people will instinctively start following you, helping you to achieve what you set out to do.
Institutional leadership is power based, it can take many forms. From pure to enlightened dictatorship, but always leading in terms of pre-set goals, most of them set by financial markets. Investors, banks and other institutions all at a distance from the organisation and its goals.
Power based leadership in itself uses energy (energy drain), requires control. People working in such an organisation, most of the times, are feeling drained after a working day. And slogans as "TGF" (thank god it´s Friday) appear.
I do realise that there are times, situations where you need this type of leadership in order to get things done or changed, mostly because it is apparently a utopia to believe that all people have equal access to the needed information to decide for themselves on "what is it that is for the good of all". The inequality in access to information and learning prevents a fully networked society, prevents an open communication, and prevents the possibility of a full co-creation of our society.
Networked leadership, as I see it, is based on co-creation, is based on equal access to information, is based on open communication, and is also based on a shared goal within an aligned team. Where team alignment is made possible by the leaders of the team. They allow & create the space where people can contribute to the shared goal, and in doing so get energised and not drained.