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A New Leadership Mindset for Scaling Social Change

Date of Publication: Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Abstract: Over the past 50 years our thinking about leadership, whether in communities or board rooms, has been heavily influenced by heroic models of leadership. We traditionally think of leadership as the skills, qualities and behavior of an individual who exerts influence over others to take action or achieves a goal using their position and authority. Leadership for a New Era was launched because we believe this way of thinking about leadership is only one part of the story -- one that does not fully recognize leadership as a process grounded in relationships that are fluid, dynamic, non-directive and non-unilateral. Understanding leadership as a process requires us to think very differently about how change occurs and how we work with others. We will never mobilize leadership at the scale needed for significant progress on social justice or any other complex issue without expanding our thinking about what leadership is, how it works and how we can support it.