The trouble is that this increasing interconnectedness does not reduce our requirement for leadership. By creating new and tough problems and undermining the legitimacy and effectiveness of some of the traditional institutional responses to them, it actively increase it. But the question is what kind of leadership do we need?
Network Leaders Lead from the Outside in
They start with the deepest needs of their user and work back to establish the configuration of resources and capacities needed to meet them.
Network Leaders Mobilise Disparate Supplies of Energy
They know that the tacit and explicit knowledge of front line staff. They create a language that enables people to cross boundaries. They focus on structuring the right kind of conversation. They know leadership is less about decision and more about deliberation.
Network Leaders Foster Trust and Empower Others to Act
They know that agreement is not precondition for action, but adequate trust is. True authority empowers others to act.
Network Leaders Help People Grow Out of their Comfort Zones
Our silos help us to maintain our established routines and give us a sense of identity. Network leaders set incentives for people to move out of this zone and tap into people’s sense of professionalism and sense of moral purpose.
Network Leaders are Lead Learners and Not All-Knowers
They make the point of not having all the answers. They do not let the “certainty of their vision” blind them. They listen.
Network Leaders Nurture Other Leaders
They reach into the notion of self-government as the ultimate goal of leadership. A great network leader is one where people say” we did it ourselves” because they have shaped this self organisation in meaningful and productive ways.
Network leaders, above all, work to preserve the trust upon which their networks depend.