How did you go with the quiz last week? If you missed it, you can do the quiz by finding the article on the Rotorua Daily Post website, www.dailypost.co.nz.
The quiz is 12 short questions that will help you assess how well connected you are to others in your neighbourhood.
I have been writing about this as the question that keeps coming up in conversations I have been having with community leaders over the past 12 months or so is this: "How might we help people develop a greater sense of connection to others in their neighbourhood?"
It's an important question because "connected" communities are more healthy, more resilient and more engaged.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The truth is that everyone wants to be loved; everyone wants to know their place in the world and have a sense of belonging. Maori have several words to describe this sense of connectedness and belonging. One is whanautanga, another is turangawaewae - which speaks of the importance of being empowered and connected.
So how might you help yourself and others become more connected and make a positive difference in your neighbourhood? It all comes down to leadership. Now I know that some of you will now be thinking, "But I'm not a leader," my answer to that is "but you can be".
Up until about 100 years ago leaders were always considered to be the biggest, the fastest and the strongest. Or they were the ones who had high positions in society - the kings, queens and best warriors. This is now referred to as "The Great Man" theory of leadership. Although some people still hold to this idea, over the past 50 years or so our understanding of what makes a great leader has matured a bit; and most people now acknowledge that you can be big and strong and have all sorts of titles - but not be a good leader.
In 1975 Robert Greenleaf began talking about "servant leadership". As the name suggests, "servant leadership" is all about leading by committing yourself to the service of others. His ideas were a direct challenge to "Great Man" theory and got people thinking. In fact, it was one of the catalysts for a world-wide rethinking of what leadership is all about. It is now accepted in most organisations that the best way to lead is not by "telling", but by engaging, inspiring and influencing others. Which is a more formal way of expressing the old saying, "You catch more bees with honey than vinegar".
The other really big shift that has occurred in the last 100 years is a realisation that leaders are made, not born. Sure, some people have natural gifts that make it easier for them to lead well, but nevertheless, leadership is essentially a skill that can be learned. Think about it. There are plenty of examples in sport and business of people who have oodles of natural talent, but never developed themselves and consequently never fulfilled their potential. But the reverse is also true. You might not have buckets of natural ability, but you can still learn the skills.
Next week we will look at how you can begin to learn how to lead. It's not has hard, or as scary, as that might sound.