Thanks a lot, Tim, for these insights.
What about trust in horizontal relationships? People may not only need to be in conversation with each other - but they may need to experience that it is safe to trust their colleagues from other departments.
And how do you see the building of trust-based relationships along the vertical axis? Any chance for that?
Warm greetings from Brussels,
Yes. I think trust is at the core … building core teams/communities of practice that span across multiple different departments has been something I have been working with. These teams meet regularly using participatory methods and start to be the DNA of a more meaningful and effective culture of working together. They also take on concrete tasks and show that participatory approaches can get results that exceed expectations. It is the getting of results that starts to build confidence up the vertical axis to senior leaders. Though i do think it is important to have one or more senior leaders who are making space in the organisation for people to lead change - otherwise you are too vulnerable. I talk about this a bit in a blog on capacity building, mandate and strategic interventions here: http://www.timmerry.com/1/post/2013/11/getting-it-done-strategy-capacity-and-mandate.html
Thanks for joining in the conversation! :-)
Hi Tim, thanks a lot for your further comments.
The fact that the Art of Participatory Leadership has been gaining so much momentum in one of the most hierarchical organisations in Brussels (the European Commission) is absolutely remarkable. One of the next questions seems to be: how can we create spaces in which we can truly co-create? "We" meaning: citizens of all generations (individuals and organized civil society) and decision-makers / policy-makers…
I have been wondering how deep the non-participatory mindset is embedded in advocacy strategies - assuming that "we" know what needs to be changed and that the decision-makers just have to be influenced to take the "right" decision that will serve us the most…
Maybe it is the journey from advocacy to civic engagement that is needed most.
Intellectual or knowledge capital translates into power and leverage within a network therefore the challenge about relationships, from a management or leadership level, is whether or not balance is necessary for collaboration and innovation? Given the complexity of relationship dynamics, is there a place for both vertical and horizontal to both exist within a culture that embraces change?
Thanks for this. Lots in this one I think .. I think that we are forced to build relationships because no one silo or one leader can effectively respond to the complexity of the challenges we are being faced with. This is not a management fad for 'relational leadership' but a strategic response to a rapidly changing and information saturated circumstance. We need multiple perspectives to be able see clearly the bigger picture and then make smart choices going forward. This is not about relationships are better than hierarchy or the other way round - but it is about what is the form that best meets the need … and yes, there are multiple power dynamics within that, as people step up to lead and others let go of control.
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