Interview with Our World Re-Imagined-Big Ideas for a Better Future

Blog by Janet Whitley, Team Lead for Collective Leadership for Scotland

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed as part of the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector series: Our World Re-Imagined-Big Ideas for a Better Future.  The series is covering a range of ideas that are seen to help reshape society and improve lives post COVID-19 and is in the format of conversations with broadcaster and journalist Pennie Taylor. 

Sessions are intended to delve into innovative ideas across a range of subjects that can help build a better world post COVID-19. Other topics being covered include community wealth building, asset-based community development, the wellbeing economy, enabling state, gender equal economy, system design, National Performance Framework, participative democracy and the future of social care.

I was really pleased to be invited to contribute, and for Collective Leadership to have been given a prominent position alongside these other issues.   It feels like a really important time to consider all of the ways that Collective Leadership can offer us something different in our work beyond COVID-19. 

In our Collective Leadership Steering Group and Community events this week there was a lot of reflection on the ways in which the COVID-19 experience has emphasised that some of our previous conceptions of collaboration may only really have been scratching the surface and a more profound shift to collective leadership is now required.  There was also a recognition that, as we move into even greater levels of uncertainty, the leadership practices that are at the core of Collective Leadership are more likely to serve us and our communities as we work out together what we need to do to re-build our society.

In the session, I briefly outlined how, over time, our understanding of what Collective Leadership means has been refined to the following five components: 

  • Practices that support self-reflection – pausing, journaling
  • Understanding complexity – systems leadership, wicked issues
  • Curiosity and inquiring stance
  • Relational – listening, asking “good” questions, building relationships, surfacing diversity
  • Working more comfortably with emergence – not knowing, taking action in uncertainty.

There was then a fairly challenging array of questions from Pennie Taylor and other participants in the session, some of whom were attending from as far afield as New Zealand.

You can take a look at how I got on here: https://youtu.be/0uXCjHD82CM

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