This year I am participating in a program for administrators in higher education called the Susan Vogt Leadership Fellows Program. The program brings together 16 mid-level workers from universities across the Boston area and trains them to achieve a milestone project. Ultimately, they will serve as agents for positive change in their home institutions.
The program’s approach to leadership comes from Dr. Joe Raelin, a professor at Northeastern’s Center for Work and Learning. He advances a theory of leaderful organizations. This model contrasts with popular managerial metaphors of the leaderless organization (see The Starfish and the Spider).
His concept of being leaderful refers to an organization where every member exercises leadership. Most of us feel comfortable with a strong executive who articulates the vision and delegates responsibilities. Raelin suggests that a more productive way to mobilize people is to cultivate leaders at every level. Through the fellowship program, we’ll be working on ways to operationalize those principles in our workplaces.