Mikel Ocean Azure

A SOUL IN SHADES OF BLUE.

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Leadership: Formal and Informal.

Posted by Cobaltsoul on May 26, 2010 at 1:42 AM

If you've been in leadership and you've been paying attention you will have noticed that there are at least two categories of leadership.


Formal leadership - the official leader or leaders,  appointed by some sanctioned process and given clear powers with regard to community management and direction setting. 


Informal leadershp - people or groups that exert strong, consistent influence on what happens in the community (Management) and what direction the community moves.


The relationship between both categories often determines the politics of that community, and every communty has "politics".


Sometimes the informal leadership becomes, by a legitimate process, the formal leadership of the community.  That might sound like a good thing, sometimes, for a while, it is.  But, due to the corrupting quality of power, the increased power of being the formal leadership (While still having the power accrued as the informal leadership) quickly (Ironically) starts to erode the dynamics of that informal leadership credibility and influence and the reaction of most such leaders is then to focus further on the formal powers of influence they have which speeds up and magnifies the way that power warps them and corrupts them. 


More commonly the formal leadershp and the informal leadership are in competition for the influence within the community.  In this competition the formal leadership is actually at a disadvantage, everything they do they are accountable for, it's generally done in public view.  The informal leadership is not accountable to anyone except themselves, very often the members of the community don't really identify the informal leaders AS leaders.  They just think of them as "my friend" or "the guy who's been here from the start" or some such.  Because they are not seen as even informal leaders no-one measures their actions in terms of responsibility or accountability. 


Imagine for a moment the corruptive potential in that leadership process.  You can wield influence over this part of a group of people's lives, without ever being asked to explain yourself, justify your motives or your actions, you can have power in the shadows.  


Power corrupts formal and informal leadership in the same way.   If you are reading this and you are an informal leader, don't kid yourself  that your motives and processes are any cleaner than the formal leaders.  They are not. 


Think about it.


Mikel.

Categories: The Dialogue, Old Wine, New Wine

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