Leading communities: capabilities and cultures

Hartley, Jean (2002). Leading communities: capabilities and cultures. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 23(8) pp. 419–429.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730210449311


The concept of community leadership is examined, using a model with four arenas of leadership. Little attention has been paid to the capabilities which managers (as well as councillors and staff) need to perform effectively in this new leadership role. The paper is based on a case study of a highly innovative council. The paper examines three issues: the capabilities required for community leadership in terms of working with communities, in terms of working in partnerships, and the management development programme to support cultural change. The research shows that service delivery in the context of community leadership is increasingly complex, varied and outwardly focused. New skills include responding as well as directing, using lateral as well as vertical skills, having an impact on other organizations, not just one's own. These have major implications for hierarchical organizations and professionally-driven services. The development of a community leadership focus also contains tensions for the management of performance and motivation.

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