Chapter Three: Successful Leadership Connections
Successfully establishing and maintaining the leadership connections identified in Chapter Two require answering several questions.
· Who connects with whom?
· What is the content of the connection?
· Where does the connection occur?
· When do the people connect?
· Why do they invest the time and energy required to connect?
· How is the connection initiated and sustained?
Consider these questions with the goal of enabling members of the Leadership Team to establish and maintain the array of connections needed to assure the agency’s leadership perspective is in place and clearly focused.
When considering the questions, it helps to keep in mind these points made by Neukrug (2008) when discussing community change, “A number of strategies for changing the community have been suggested over the years. However, today it is clear that whatever intervention one makes, it should be taken with an attitude of respect and collaboration with community members.” (p. 176-177) Neukrug goes on to suggest six steps for implementing community change: accurately define your problem, collaborate with community members, respect community members, collaboratively develop strategies for change, implement change strategies, and assess effectiveness. Neukrugs six-step strategy definitely applies to successful leadership connections as much as to community change in general. As the questions translate into action, the wisdom of Gunderson (1997) also deserves inclusion in the journey. “Only a fool would say, ‘Follow me, I have the answer,’ or perhaps only a fool would follow. (p. 55) Rather, we move toward one another in humility, challenged by the opportunity for making progress and needing each other in order to see progress achieved. You cannot respect something you do not understand. You cannot understand someone to whom you have not listened. You cannot listen to someone with whom you have not spent time.”