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Archive: September 19, 2010 - September 25, 2010

Tea party: The new grassroots template

When an organization cedes a measure of control to those it seeks to enlist as supporters, it does more than merely make them feel as if they are a part of something larger than themselves; it instills within them a measure of personal responsibility for protecting and growing the organization. Simply put, the ownership stake that each and every member of the Tea Party movement holds is what drives the levels of activism we've seen to date.

By Robert Goodwin | September 24, 2010; 4:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

Power: Face it, you need it

Leaders are preoccupied with power because power is an essential component of leadership. So noted the late John Gardner, founder of Common Cause and cabinet secretary in the Lyndon Johnson administration. Getting things done--particularly through and with others--requires influence skills. And, in order to lead both organizational change and effective execution, you need to cultivate the leadership capacity to get your way.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | September 23, 2010; 3:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leaders beget leaders

Call it "distributed leadership" or another term of academic jargon, it's the critical attribute that has real leaders empowering their subordinates and colleagues to make critical decisions for the organization.

By Ken Adelman | September 22, 2010; 4:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tea Party lacking "post-heroic leadership"

leadership, on leadership, tea party, tea party leadership, Christine o donnell, sarah palin, tea party leaders, who is the leader of the tea party, distributed leadership, tea party, wikipedia...

By Marie Wilson | September 22, 2010; 4:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

The wrong return to our roots

As E.B White put it years ago in a New Yorker essay, "There is a bright future for complexity, what with one thing always leading to another." Let's hope the Tea Party and, more importantly, both of our dominant political parties speak out with clear-eyed optimism for the common good--a common good that rests on the solid grounds of democracy; that rests on a government that would not, should not, be a distributive leadership" (whatever that is); and that rests on a nation with the resources and brains and resilience to solve complex problems that demand equitable, respectful solutions and results.

By Warren Bennis | September 22, 2010; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

The pros and cons of decentralized leadership

Decentralized leadership approaches work well when an organization needs innovation and creative solutions from knowledgeable people who are familiar with the environment and know their role within the organization. The less hierarchical culture allows a free flow of ideas, yet people's experience and professionalism keep chaos from swamping the task.

By Amy Fraher | September 22, 2010; 12:36 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tea Party a call for leadership, not the result of it

This is a group devoid of strong leadership, rather than an example of distributed leadership. Many of the individuals who satellite around this movement are eagerly providing evening news sound bites that are focused on playing to the anxieties and fears resulting from an economy in turmoil, without any realistic platform for improving the lives of Americans.

By Alaina Love | September 22, 2010; 12:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

The tea party, Wikipedia and al-Qaeda: shared leadership lessons?

It's interesting that the two organizations that best exemplify "distributed leadership" (or at least get the most attention for making use of it) are the Tea Party and al-Qaeda. Both illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of this approach to...

By Paul R. Portney | September 21, 2010; 5:15 PM ET | Comments (6)

Nice engine, but does the steering wheel work?

Contrary to popular belief the Tea Party, like most successful distributed-leadership efforts, is enabled by strong executive leaders. While not formal leaders, people like Sarah Palin...

By Deborah Ancona | September 21, 2010; 5:02 PM ET | Comments (1)

Can a movement lead without leaders?

It's one thing to mobilize the troops. It's another to focus them on winning the war. Open-source organizations like the Tea Partiers are great at mobilizing but...

By Donald Kettl | September 21, 2010; 4:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Sipping different types of tea

The Tea Party has been very successful at spreading their message peer to peer and finding a dedicated cohort of people who are invested in their somewhat amorphous goals. Their biggest difficulty for the long term is preserving that cohesiveness when...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 21, 2010; 4:04 PM ET | Comments (1)

The power of shared principles

Most Americans, including me, relate favorably to the Tea Party's ideas of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility. However, if the Tea Party fails to develop...

By David Walker | September 21, 2010; 2:31 PM ET | Comments (1)

Decentralized leadership can break things, but it can't build them

Real leadership has many parts: framing the message, developing a coherent strategy, setting clear and achievable goals. Too informal or too decentralized a structure...

By Mickey Edwards | September 21, 2010; 2:21 PM ET | Comments (1)

Of hope and havoc

Leadership, whether distributive or not, must be guided by a compass inscribed with the basic moral code of "first, do no harm." The real issues and concerns of movements are delegitimized when the values...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 21, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (2)

Tea Party: Informal leadership can only get you so far

I'm doubtful that, absent more conventional leadership, the Tea Party will be able to be constructive--as well as destructive. If it manages to achieve legislative or executive results...

By Howard Gardner | September 21, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

What successful decentralized leadership looks like

Leadership does not belong solely to people with titles or even big reputations. Leaders come in all persuasions and personalities. A denominator common to leaders is a willingness...

By John Baldoni | September 21, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Tea Party reveals our leadership vacuum

The Tea Party can be viewed as a manifestation of the current anxiety and uncertainty. This sort of thing can be expected when unemployment is at nearly 10 percent, not counting

By Yash Gupta | September 21, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

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