Learning to Lead: Strengthening the Practice of Community Leadership
AbstractThis article presents a schema for education in community leadership, with an explication of three essential elements for learning to lead in communities. First, community leadership is presented as the authoritative action of citizens on behalf of the public good. Second, the distinctive dynamics of community interaction provide the settings demanding leadership and therefore set the patterns for learning to lead. Third, because leadership is rooted in the authority and power of followers, leadership development must focus less on the qualities of individual leaders and more on the social settings, processes, and needs that require and facilitate authoritative action: access to power, legitimation through support and accountability, effective community practices, and public work in public spaces. The article concludes with a description of practical wisdom as the core quality required of community leaders.