The Applied Leadership Challenge Space
Why do we need a Leadership Space?
TO DO the right things, in the right way, by and for the right people, in the right places and with the right impact’.”
Leadership has also been described as “doing the right things” whereas management can be viewed “as doing things right”. Here, we prefer paraphrasing Aristotle in describing this in more detail; leadership concerns “doing the right things, in the right way, by and for the right people, in the right places and with the right impact’?”. It is reasonable then to suggest that the concept of leadership is highly complex, yet its practice can be applied in an intelligent way to achieve the outcomes that are desired. This is achieved by recognising the differing contexts within which different styles or approaches to leadership can be applied by understanding the dynamics of the contexts and using the appropriate mechanisms for the situation at that time. Previous theories and discussions on leadership have professed different approaches, as our initial section on the history of leadership has described. There is NO one-best way. Our suggestion is that leadership is collective and will rely on the strengths of intelligence in reducing information asymmetry and in building the right skills for the right people, at the right time and in the right place.
What is the Leadership Space?
The Applied Leadership Challenge Space – as it says on the tin – is the place where we collectively respond to the key challenges for leadership in replacing the over-reliance on top-down management with the collective process of inclusive leadership across all levels”.
Think of this as the right place for leaders to engage collectively in integrated problem-solving, responding innovatively and creatively in creating solutions that will make the difference. Think of it also as the creative place in which you can reimagine leadership with collective others. Most important, thinking differently will make the difference. It breaks down barriers and will enable us to think of those challenges (and the responses) that we do not yet know about as well as those that we do.
When and Who occupies the Leadership Space?
The two essential components of the space relating to both ‘time’ (when the ‘space’ is occupied) and ‘mass’ (who occupies the ‘space’) represent the two fundamental elements of the applied leadership challenge space which is then supported by the more operational elements of how the applied space works and from where it operates.
How does the ALCS work and where?
There is now an increasing volume of literature in relation to collective leadership. In summary, viewing leadership as a process holds promise. In particular, by engaging with wider stakeholders, a number of benefits emerge.
- First and foremost, is that a leadership ‘community’ can mitigate the flaws of individual leaders (the ‘who’)
- the way in which they lead (the ‘what’); and
- the limitations of individual leaders’ position (the ‘where’).
- It can also take account of the best time to intervene (the ‘when’) and in defining the steps that need to be taken (the ‘how’)
Applied Leadership Challenge Sets
The key to the successful outcome of the applied leadership process is the creation and work of Applied Leadership Challenge Sets, grounded in the principles of action learning.
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