Who's Afraid of Leadership?

In the flat organisational structures found in worker co-operatives leadership can be distributed, where authority is delegated to sub-groups, working parties or individuals. Those with delegated authority have autonomy and perform tasks however they see fit, as long as they understand how and when they will be held accountable to the wider membership.

In her excellent article ‘How to grow distributed leadership’ Alanna Krause states that leadership begins with leading yourself – acting as an individual, collaborating in a group or as a follower. She rightly says we need to talk about power, which people acquire for a wide range of reasons, such as charisma, knowledge, skills or expertise.

So in co-operatives members should use good facilitation skills, well-designed systems and clear processes to co-ordinate work without establishing a hierarchy. Leadership skills will be grown by the more experienced consciously creating opportunities for others to lead, and knowing when to step back and allow others to practice.

Read the rest at Cooperantics


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