The Frames of Leadership

Julian Stodd’s piece “The Frames of Leadership” was interesting reading, indeed, but it made me wonder, how widespread are these concepts from “The Social Age?” When and how is the average, non-union employee “rewarded.”

I’m looking back on years in the work force, most recently as a supervisor in the billing department of a large, non-profit behavioral health organization. I was proud to be a member of the staff, because I valued the services the organization provides, including crisis intervention, residential facilities for detox and recovery, a variety of family services and day programs for individuals with a variety of behavioral challenges. These services are not only important, they’re crucial to the wellbeing of any large community.

What surprised me was the way we employees were treated; I’d expected more from an organization with a socially conscious mission statement. Instead, the practices mirrored the model I’ve seen time and again and which is, sadly, “the norm” for most US corporations. Employees are doing the work previously assigned to two or three people, the staff is kept at “skeleton crew” level to save money, the lunch hour is now half an hour, employees who use their sick time are reprimanded, pay check deductions for benefits such as healthcare increase every year and the annual raise averages 3%, if you’re fortunate enough to be working for a company where wages haven’t been frozen.

When employers treat the workforce this way, the atmosphere may be pleasant on the surface, but if you talk with individuals, you’ll find they’re disgusted, exhausted and see their job as “doing time” until they’re able to retire, which for many folks is not at age 65. I’m sure there are some enlightened employers here in the US and reading Mr. Stodd’s post gave me a sense of hope for the future. Unfortunately, I think those working “9 to 5” these days are less than satisfied with their leaders. TGIF, indeed!

Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

The Social Age rewards agility: the ability to frame and reframe problems, to deploy our communities and experiment, question and react at speed. It’s less about mastery of process, more about communication and collaboration. Social Leaders demonstrate a rounded skill set: a holistic mastery of these skills and a consistent demonstration of these behaviours over time. Reputation is founded upon this consistency.

The Frames of Leadership We can reduce leadership to be viewed within different frames, but it’s only in the holistic application that we can be effective.

In traditional terms, it’s a mixture of hard and soft skills: sure, there is an element of technology that needs to be mastered, but there is very little process. Social Leadership is more about storytelling, sharing and reciprocating than it is about performance reviews and competency frameworks. It may exist alongside these things, but the authority is garners is consensual, granted through the community.


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