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Three: Successful Leadership Connections

Successfully establishing and
maintaining the leadership connections identified in Chapter Two require
answering several questions.

connects with whom?

is the content of the connection?

does the connection occur?

do the people connect?

do they invest the time and energy required to connect?

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. Neukrug’s 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.”

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