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The Leadership Web

A few weeks ago I attended a wonderful garden party celebrating the launch of a new women-owned consulting group. In attendance were scores of interesting, engaged women leaders from a rich variety of organizations, all of whom shared a common interest — developing their own capacities as leaders and reaching out to connect with, support and learn from other women on that same journey.

A few weeks ago I attended a wonderful garden party celebrating the launch of a new women-owned consulting group. In attendance were scores of interesting, engaged women leaders from a rich variety of organizations, all of whom shared a common interest — developing their own capacities as leaders and reaching out to connect with, support and learn from other women on that same journey.

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In the forward to Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2005), David Gergen, director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, states that leadership — regardless of gender — can be viewed as a series of concentric circles.

The innermost circle represents the individual leader — you. Leadership must start from within, knowing yourself, achieving self-mastery and developing your own leadership voice.

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The second larger circle — containing the first — represents the organization of which you are a part. Once you have learned self-leadership, you are able to more effectively lead a larger group.

The third circle, encompassing both the first and second circles, represents the larger world in which an organization operates — the multitude of other organizations with which yours must cooperate, coordinate and partner.

To this description, I would add a fourth circle — perhaps in the design of a web — that overlays them all. This web represents all those who serve as leadership touchstones for us — those women and men who inspire, teach, challenge, serve as role models and generously share their expertise and experience with us either personally or indirectly through their work.

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I left the garden party with the seeds of several new connections to add my own leadership touchstone web and a large dose of fresh inspiration. Who — and how — are you adding to your own web these days?

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