At Ogunte, since
2001, we have chosen to explore leadership with a gender lens and specifically
with and by women who focus on changing people’s world, their social and environmental
contexts. It’s a fascinating topic, and we hope to be a loyal and faithful
platform for women who are growing and leading change this way. We are learning
every day with you all and we share this learning through our networks.
As part of our summer online learning sessions, we invited network members to share thoughts and questions around leadership. Watch the video here.
Read the transcript:
I recently read an article about Resilient leadership in educational context. It was all about leading with open eyes.
“When things are going well, change is
the last thing some school leaders want to do, so they skimp on learning. When
things aren’t going well, some leaders make the dangerous mistake of believing
they can’t afford to invest in professional development. Whenever top leaders
quit learning, it usually means one thing: They believe they know everything
they need to know. Organizations, however, are in a constant state of change.
Responding to change always requires learning.” I propose you to
adopt learning as a key and pivotal element of leadership.
I would shy away of talking of Influence without authority, but would rather use Leading beyond authority.Define authority, do you mean power, do you mean you have a leadership role but no positional power? There’s always something within you can lead from or with.
Let’s look at the power you have within.
You have a parallel between
this question and the following:
Let me give two examples of
social innovators in the US and Nigeria.
Sustainable designs and
renewable technologies are central to CDS’s mission of social transformation,
as they strive to bring dignity, privacy, and opportunities to many living in
poverty. Affordable housing
is not a topic that many people necessarily want to get involved in, because it
is a huge problem that even governments have a hard time tackling.
“To be commercially viable, sustainable housing construction requires land, finance, labour, technical know-how, and scale. It thrives in an enabling environment where there is government cooperation, suitable policy, and good infrastructure. All of these are in scarce supply in the regions that need the housing the most, so making the stars align is a constant uphill struggle! Housing provision requires great capital expenditure for construction and mortgage finance. We are constantly battling to find the kind of patient capital that will allow the marginalized and under-served the opportunity for home ownership”.
Miller co-founded Bitty Foods and is committed to
spreading the word about edible insects – crickets in particular. Crickets are
an eco-friendly, high-protein source of nutrition and could well be part of the
solution to securing global food security for the future. In some cultures eating insects is a done deal, and in
others, people are shivering just thinking about it! Megan thoroughly researched the topic,
and started socialising the idea with her friends,
asking: ‘What if we all started eating insects, and we saved the world?!’
To the extent that they sort of peer-pressured her into actually trying it.
They said, ‘You know, you’re gonna have to put your money where your mouth is and
start cooking edible insects.’ So she did.
With a combination of well
timed public speaking, publication of research, and the finding of startup
farms producing crickets, they quickly found their supply chain, but very soon
they had to find more crickets.
Chinwe and Megan both have an evidenced based solution, and a market that is not
necessarily willing to switch, change, nor adapt instantly. They have to be clear
about what they are bringing about, articulate it in a simple way, but at the
same time, they have to identify what their potential customers are ready to
hear, to absorb. And in this fine overlap, they will grow their authority and
start to lead. In this fine overlap, they have to forge alliances, people who
communicate the same message and also who are ready to build the infrastructure
that will support this innovation. It is a very fine overlap, yet a hopeful
There is no golden tip. However there’s something that seems to be recurrent among The Impact Women we spoke to… They reported the importance of nurturing a shared vision in their leadership. They stressed that the venture was not about them, but about the shared journey of everyone involved: staff, volunteers, investors, beneficiaries, families, communities. No one is left out and that is powerful.
need to put representatives of these communities in the room and get their
creative juices working together. It could be for a service, a product you plan
to come out, a piece of research, an inquiry about their needs, their
prospects, their worries…
used to lead from the front more, but now I have learned to walk alongside
my team and learn from them, as well as teach them everything I know.It is
key to develop the vision along with the people you are leading, so that it’s a
shared vision. I learned very early that telling
people what to do doesn’t work.’
tend to get very focused on the tactics (the ‘what’) and the ‘why’ gets lost
along the way. You need to revive this and go back to it. Read
our article: “How
Impact Women imprint purpose and values on their business”
Another good aspect to think about, comes from Kresse Wesling, co-founder of Elvis & Kresse, a luxury accessories brand
that rescues materials destined for landfill.Kresse
afraid there is no one size fits all answer to that question. The
essence is that, to lead a cross-cultural team, you might chose to impose your
view of the world, and the culture that will come out of this will be a
projection of your personality. However,
you might cut yourself short here. You need to be very curious and flexible as
people need and want to be led, and
b) which leadership trait but also which skill, behaviour, insights, networks, the members of your team themselves will be able to bring to the game, that will also be the most relevant for what you are trying to achieve.
requires your end vision to be clear to all.
article by Dr Tomas Chamorro Premuzic on Entrepreneurial leadership - “What
Leadership looks like in different cultures”- discover which type of leadership is most
prominent in certain countries, in the context of decision making,
communication style, even dark side tendencies.
traits you will need to develop as a leader are certainly your fluidity, your
flexibility at the same time as your consistency, how you keep purpose in sight
and how you manage to keep a systemic view of the world.
the richness of experience and storytelling. There’s nothing more enlightening
that people experimenting and trying out things for themselves, that stand out,
that are out of their routine. Nothing stronger than young people have the
space to express questions, articulate stories about their life. We need
young people to speak out more and to bring out more stories to the front, accept
them as great speakers, develop these interpersonal skills that are so useful
and required in the adult world. For negotiation purposes, to capture
attention, to raise concerns, to manage emotions, to lead!
This is interesting.
I guess we are not finished with leadership. What is left to do is you
brandishing your campaign and get on with it, get loyal followers, champions on
side, as well as people who will challenge you to do more and better.In an article I
shared a little while ago called “That
leadership conversation you haven’t had yet” I am sharing an exercise. It
is a sabotage exercise.
that you are working in the field of… and the current constraints around this
theme are predominantly (select practical examples) …, …, and … (and these
don’t seem to go away), what would you (you, your team, your family, society)
need to continue doing, or start doing more of, to make the situation even
Reflecting on what you would need to do to sabotage the situation really helps you to become more aware of the things that are creating problems…
on your way home today, leaving your leader’s hat and any other hat behind,
where do you suddenly spot the issue you are working on?
there as well:…
one reason why this is happening in that very location, or one reason why
something is not happening, just there.
if you engaged now in an impromptu conversation with … (stranger), as well as …
(someone in your neighborhood), also with … (an elected councilor), and … (an
executive/chair from another NGO, social business, or company) and invited them
to think about… ?
if you invited them to activate …[something]
How about you do that this week?
you get back to work, after this experience, get rid of the superfluous and
start focusing on the actions and the relationships you’ve identified, until you
get incremental yet evidenced results.
To have an example
of how someone did that in practice, read our
interview with Cecilia Milesi, peace builder, from Argentina.
She is talking about leading a
movement, as opposed to an organization.
As Kirstie asks the question, she
immediately adds: “I wouldn’t even know where to start with that one. Maybe the
point isn’t the answer it’s just to ask the question.” And I loved when Kirstie thought out
loud this way there. The question is complex, because, to start with there’s
not just one male side and one female side. Reality is much more complex than
that, thankfully. The
beauty is that we come in the most various shapes forms, abilities,
vulnerabilities, voices and heritages, and experiences.
The risk is we are not all equipped to embrace our complexity. Because we are expected to communicate through boxes, stereotypes, unevidenced common beliefs.
community, someone needs to go the extra mile to develop
empathy, care, and above all, make space. We can’t
steal someone else’s speaking space when they are perfectly capable of speak for themselves.
In this short introductory session on Leadership, I have highlighted
ImpactWomen that you should definitely connect to, and discover how they – and their
friends - have mastered the topic of leadership, each in their own way.
About Ogunte CIC
Ogunte CIC is an organisation that amplifies
and supports Women in Social Enterprises, in various places in the world. It is a networked based organisation, made of
trainers, consultants, coaches, business transformation practitioners, who truly
believe in social impact made by women. Outside the
one-to-one or group learning opportunities we provide for women in social
enterprises and their supporters, face-to-face and online, we also have a fluid
network you can join, by just pinning your social enterprise on a global map.
Go to map.ogunte.com
and click on “participate”.
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