I'M SPENDING A cold Saturday on a Surface Book beaming into a hybrid conference held in Cong, County Galway, Ireland. Although the conversations will be stimulating, I know what I'm missing while separated by miles in the ether.
During Virtual Congregation, I hope I can catch up with people I've met on the streets of the little village. I've scrolled through blog posts several friends have made and wonder if they'll share the back stories behind the ideas they've already blogged. The price of admission to the annual Congregation is a 600 word blog post and 50 people have paid the price already. My contribution didn't hit the word count this year.
Some Cong 21 Ideas about Leadership
I've enjoyed the hospitality of Ginger Aarons during past Cong meet-ups. Ginger turns her attention to the ancestral trappings of leadership.
"Sometimes it is surprising for leaders to realise what came before them and what their own role in the world is. As they peruse what came before and have that ah ha moment about their impact on the world down the road, I feel a sense of accomplishment of helping someone be a good leader by helping them see what might be affecting their leadership from the legacy of the ancestor."
Hassan Dabbagh's post includes a perspective his son shared. That father-son dynamic works so well with me.
"If you want to know something ask a child. STOP thinking APIs and KPIs and IPs and CRMs and think like a child. The rest will come." Like several other thoughtful pieces about leadership, Hass points to the journey involved in becoming a leader is more important than the job of being a leader.
I would pay for leadership training conducted by Clare Dillon. I hope to join a virtual huddle with Clare to hear her take on who is leading. What makes a good leader? And how do we create more of them?
I share the same perspective on leadership as Chris Reina. "As someone who is a leader (albeit unintentional) for many people of varying age groups and areas of life, I often feel uncomfortable and fraudulent in my capacity as a leader."
I first met Zanya Dahl in a huddle at Cong and later in her design agency. Zanya confronts deficiencies in leadership.
"The ripple effect of every self-serving leadership decision – – in politics, healthcare, pharma, retail, law, education, industry, community – reverberate around the globe causing discord and destruction.
We are living in a 24/7 high-performance culture where every effort, every act is towards personal gain – the now is never enough. We are always looking ahead and rarely looking around. We commoditise and automate to accelerate the pace. We must continuously reach higher and go further. To sit still is to stagnate, to fall behind.
Dennis Deery looks in the mirror for leadership. "Through knowing myself and my abilities better, I will seek out opportunities to have a positive impact on the people, places and communities around me. I will seek out and nurture relationships that will buttress me with the strength to serve when the call is difficult."
I know Mags Amond from many non-hierarchical education networks. Mags is in Cong this weekend. She has her finger on the pulse of a dimension of leadership I respect. If you see the need, take the lead.
"I see enacted in many I have encountered in education networks and communities (looking at you, people in cesi.ie, and non-hierarchical systems especially TeachMeet). My experience participating in and now researching informal self-organised gatherings has introduced me again and again to the person who takes that first step when they see the need – allowing others to join in and ‘make the road by walking’, to tread a desire line shortcut from where they are now to where they know they need to be. It is servant leadership, voluntary, humble but very powerful – the meeting leadership that facilitates democratic agenda setting and ensures that voices are heard organically in a convivial setting; and the practice leadership that ensures teachers benefit by being both audience and presenter, sharing with peer practitioners. It is leadership that begets leadership."
I've heard Paul O'Mahony talk about his father’s bookshop, London Transport, UK National Trust, and his leadership position in Toastmasters International. His message resonates clearly in the video he created for Cong.
I've only scraped the surface of the blog posts about leadership on the Congregation website. I've met dozens more people who have shared their thoughts prior to #cong21 and encourage you to scroll through the submissions because I know you'll find something that confirms Cong as the venue for Ireland's free thinkers.
Bernie's Cong Twitter List. Please DM me if you've been omitted.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business on the Clonmel Digital Campus of the Technological University of the Shannon.]