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Ken Adelman
Political advisor

Ken Adelman

A Reagan-era Ambassador and Arms Control Director, Ken Adelman is co-founder and vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which offers executive training and leadership development.

Leaders beget leaders

Q: Has the recent success of the Tea Party come because of, or in spite of, the movement's lack of a formal leadership structure? Along with Wikipedia, open-source software and organizations like moveon.org, is this another example of the power of distributed leadership?

Leaders make 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.

In order to do this - to have the leader so enrich, inspire and trust others in the organization to show similar leadership - takes a number of components, like:

*clarity on the overall mission and near-term tasks of the organization;

*solid recruitment of colleagues in the organization;

*effective leadership training to develop and perfect executive skills;

*confidence in them, developed by their proven performance over time;

*confidence in the leader him/herself, to let others make critical decisions; and

*confidence that the organization can succeed with another at the helm into the future.

So while it sure sounds easy to evoke "distributed leadership," it's tough to develop the entire ecosystem to make it work.

But once it does work, empowering those throughout the institution pays mega-benefits to those involved and to the success of them all.

By Ken Adelman

 |  September 22, 2010; 4:22 PM ET
Category:  CEOs , Corporate leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please report offensive comments below.

I feel sorry for the people I personally know, decent but slightly sadistic TPeers, when their true leaders, the Kochs and Armeys and all the sneaky, lime-light avoiding crooked types pack their carpet bags and fade away, which they will as soon as the money-boys' objective has been gained.

I've tried to get more Americans involved in campaigns, elections and citizenship most of my life. Sometimes I've been successful. Maybe some of the group's members will remain, but without the constant infu$ion of Koch money and without a clear, inviting vision of the future which all can share in betterment, the TP is already stuck in time's quicksand. They can make all the noise now their sugar daddy's money entitles them to make, but they are a short-lived group...

Posted by: tigre1 | September 26, 2010 8:53 PM
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