Monday, September 13, 2010

Lead by Listening, Learning and Leveraging

Leaders are supposed to solve problems. We read about leaders everyday, they grab most of our headlines. We are surrounded by leaders. Yet, we are also surrounded by problems. What gives? Could it be leaders are the problem? Or is it our perception of leaders that is the problem?
Leaders have all the answers, right?
Leaders have all the solutions. Really?

We are a society that has unrealistic expectations of leaders, who really are only human.

Leaders need us. The good ones know the value of listening. They do not surround themselves with YES people. Good leaders embrace ideas from many people and sources. They seek answers. They seek solutions. Why? Because they know they do not have all the answers.

How to Lead:

1. Listen--Truly listen to the information being shared with you. It is the Holy Grail of leadership
2. Learn--What is to be learned from the information being shared? Identify and connect to the lesson.
3. Leverage--Leverage your position as a leader with the lessons you have learned.

I am a candidate in the upcoming 2010 Calgary municipal election in October. I have strong opinions about many issues. Inclusive democracy, transparency, open government, open data, collective intelligence and responsiveness are all areas we can work on improving. But the issue that is most important to me is participation.

By participating in democracy, by sharing your ideas, you can make leaders better. You make the difference between a good leader and a great leader. Your ideas help a good community become a great community.

Building a healthy community is a lot like building a puzzle. The pieces can be gathered by one person, but it is through cooperation that we piece them together.

If you find a piece of the puzzle, I encourage you to share it with others. I for one, embrace this concept.

In community building, we are all together.

Paul Hughes