As part of my own learning and development I have just completed the British Councils’ Active Citizens programme. I refer to it as a ‘social leadership’. 15 or so women have been turned into power houses of social change. I truly believe we can achieve anything we wish- together.
I’m not completely sure how this happened, although the course content and the skilled facilitators might have had something to do with it.
Some of the key metaphors used on the programme are ‘a tree of expectation’ and ‘the learning journey as a river.’ As I reflect today I can’t help wondering what this course offers leadership in a business sense and how my own training practise will be influenced by this experience.
One story that sticks in my mind is as follows:
‘we as individuals are on the land by the river, looking around for resources with which to build the raft that will take us down the river. The raft will require co-ordination and for us to be rowing in unison. For us to get to this stage we need to work effectively on land before launching. We also need to go with the current, ride the storms and navigate to safer waters together.’
We often think of leadership as being the domain of a single figure head- whether that’s in politics or in organisations, but this story presented leadership as shared, group pursuit.
The idea of the strong charismatic leader with great vision and communication skills was exploded- this notion of leadership was about us or we– what do we want to see and how are we going to make it happen?
As I sat yesterday amongst these amazing women sharing ideas about social action projects the energy in the room radiated with a sense of power, understanding, trust, equality, collaboration, creativity, support, freedom, unselfishness, motivation and passion. It was something I had rarely, if ever, seen or experienced.
Just imagine if this happened in organisations? In your business?
This is what I’d now like to create when I now work with teams. A focus on the power and alchemy of coming together and the magic that can create rather than ‘leaders leading the way’.
I could continue writing but I’ll keep it brief and finish with something beautiful and profound that I also learned: the phrase ‘Ubuntu’. An African term about interconnectedness roughly translated as:
‘I am because you are because we are’
It takes a while to get this- but its worth getting.
To find out about the social enterprise I am developing and how you may help click here