Host Leadership: Building ‘fællesskab’ for engagement and performance.
Keynote workshop with Dr Mark McKergow
The metaphor of leading as a host, as opposed to a hero or a servant, is currently creating new waves on the leadership scene. Much current leadership thinking seems to put the focus on the leader. We think this is a mistake. Leading is about a relationship – between the leader and the others. This is particularly important both in the flat and project-based organisational forms appearing today, as well as in networks and organisations wishing and needing to lead by influencing.
Leading as a host is about building relationships – at work, in the community, in society, at home – to engage others. This engagement is the key ingredient that leads to increased performance and results. The art of hosting is as ancient as humanity itself – and it can also provide a rich and inspiring framework for many practical leadership skills and ideas – particularly where you need to use influence rather than hard power.
“Leadership… is the art of the art of engaging a community in facing up to complex collective problems.” (Prof Keith Grint, 2010)
We are very intrigued by the connection with the Danish word fællesskab in this context. The idea of leading with a focus on ‘we’ rather than ‘me’, a focus on what we have in common, a focus on temporary (project) as well as longer-team teams and relationships, a focus on enabling working together rather than defining exactly what work is to be done… these all speak clearly to the overarching metaphor and wide range of practical skills that host leadership brings together.
About the session:
- A one-hour broad introduction to the metaphor of host leadership (including interaction and conversation amongst the participants), placing this into the context of other leadership metaphors such as hero and servant and looking in particular at the host-guest relationship. We will place emphasis on the key message of stepping forward and back, how stepping back can be excellent leadership, and introduce the ’six roles’ of a host leader. We will also look at how ‘fællesskab’ fits with the host leadership philosophy.
- The second hour will offer an opportunity to look at examples from around the world where host leadership ideas have been taken up and put into