Some time ago, I wrote about the idea that celebrity role models are of limited use in promoting sustainability. But really, the topic touches on much more than the role of celebrity—but rather how much do we actually need leadership to create a better world, and what might that leadership look like. Peter Lipman—chair of the Transition Network (which works on community-lead responses to peak oil and climat—has a fascinating and reflective piece over at Transition Culture on being nominated for a leadership award. Having discussed the compromises inherent in a corporate-sponsored award, and quoted George Monbiot's warning about high-profile awards' tendency to highlight "those who are skilled at taking credit for other people's work", he launches into a fascinating piece on what real leadership should look like:
My thinking about this was helped by a distinction made by Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze in a recent article between "leader-as-hero" and "leader-as-host". They argue that we shouldn't be looking for leaders who are visionary, inspiring, brilliant and trustworthy to follow and that the idea of such heroic leadership rests on the illusion that someone, somewhere, can be in control. In contrast, they suggest that hosting leaders create change by relying on everyone's creativity, commitment and generosity - and if I win this award, I'll talk about that, as for me it is core to what underpins Transition.
Once again, the Transition Movement shows itself to be an open, creative social network that fosters deep reflection and a willingness to examine ones beliefs—whatever they may be. Now that's true leadership. (The Wheatley and Frieze article about leadership in an age of complexity mentioned in Lipman's quote above also looks worth checking out.)