The Situation and Hope
- Authoritarian leadership has limited the potential of Turkey, its people and institutions.
- Nonetheless this leadership approach is taught and practiced in families, schools, universities, companies and government throughout Turkey and many people believe (in error in our view) that this will create a strong Turkey.
- We believe that a strong, future Turkey is one that will come about in a climate in which the individual potential of people is respected, protected and nurtured to full growth.
- This requires a shift in the fundamental assumptions about our world from ‘Command and Control’ to ‘Convene and Engage’.
- This latter assumption gives rise to a new leadership that is inclusive and participatory, an approach that has deep spiritual roots in Anatolia and Turkic cultural history.
- This participatory leadership approach needs to be brought to companies throughout Turkey (and also to our own families, communities, schools, universities and government institutions).
- Especially the Turkish private sector has an underutilized opportunity to repair the damages of authoritarian upbringing of the past generations and contribute to the healing and growth of Turkey beyond the mere provision of employment and goods and services.
- This deepest of ‘social corporate responsibilities’ requires the education of all employees and managers in the practices of participatory and collaborative leadership.
- Such an education effort goes beyond the transmission of book knowledge. It requires sustained, long-term exposure to personal development and creating team environments in which individuals can make up the neglects and damages of the Turkish education system.
- If this sounds utopian why does? We believe that this is also part of the education and social folklore that in Turkey more is not possible. We believe on the contrary that much much more is possible. What is required is that we deeply engage around a common vision for Turkey that at its core provides the respect and protection of the human diversity in all its forms. Then this country can be an oasis of humanity in a regional desert of inhumanness.
- To get started LeadLab Türkiye has compiled a set of methods and practices in a holistic framework so that participatory leadership becomes visible, discussable and practicable.
- The framework combines individual, group and institutional methods and grounds them in the social context of Turkey. Thereby we integrate what are otherwise fragmented and disconnected tools and ideas.
- The selected methods and practices have been gathered from the experience of many talented practitioners from around the world who have dedicated their lives to create a more humane world.
- Our task as we see it at LeadLab Türkiye is to connect to the global pool of knowledge and to our own cultural heritage and adapt all these resources to the language and demands of contemporary Turkey.
- We also believe that rather than looking for THE solution for all our problems we need practitioners to take the basic principles and methods and experiment to adapt them to their own leadership practice and the specific context of the organisations.
- Because the current education system worldwide favors learning from books rather than from personal experience LeadLab Türkiye wants to share a learning approach that takes everyones experience seriously and provide a support environment to grow your leadership practice.
The Model of Participatory Leadership
- The model shifts the often unconsciously accepted premise that people must be lead by command and control and replaces that with a convene and engage premise.
- This gives rise to a completely different set of practices. We distinguish three domains: The individual, The Group, The organization and all three embedded in the social context of Turkey. LeadLab Türkiye’s model recognizes the interrelatedness between these domains as opposed to so many models and tools that separate and focus in isolation on e.g. personal practice or a team approach or disregard the influence of the organisational or country context. LeadLab Türkiye aspires for a model that’s fit for the context of Turkey.
- The individual: While in the old days leadership what people in authority need to do with others today leaders without self-knowledge of their own habitual ways of looking and acting in the world is luckily established. Nonetheless we take this evolution further from ‘know thyself’ to ‘develop thyself’. Personal development doesn’t stop after puberty, it has the potential to continue if adequately supported and provided with the right development environment. In LeadLab Türkiye we continously practice in two interdependent areas: a) Awareness training and maturation of ourselves and b) Dialogue training to express our true intentions and inquire skillfully and support others in their own expression.
- The group: We shift away from ‘what leaders need to do TO a group’ to the question of ‘what leaders need to do WITH the group’. This shift is fundamental to create a participatory mindset. Two major tasks from such a mindset follow: a) explore and envision a common purpose for the group and b) create a We-dentity, a shared sense of values and uniqueness of the group./li_item]
- The organization: Many organisations suffer from functional, geographic or product silos. Much of this is rooted in the ‘command and control’ mindset. One divides the tasks to give to the lower levels of hierarchy while higher levels have the task to coordinate and even higher levels the task to direct and control. Not surprisingly people are frustrated about unnecessary, low visibility and meaningless work. At LeadLab Türkiye we want to learn and adapt a variety of collaborative methods that overcome fragmentation in work place structures and processes: a) Lean Organisation Philosophy and Kaizen, b) Open Space, c) World Cafe, d) Dynamic Facilitation, e) Appreciative Inquiry and f) Theory U and possibly others. Because we are shifting to ‘Convene and engage’ as a fundamental mindset these methods will rely on practices on the individual and group level for being effective.
All of the tools and methods have their own history and context. Hence it is up to us at LeadLab Türkiye to understand their history and purpose so that we can purposefully adept them to our settings. Because this process takes time and creativity LeadLab Türkiye is the laboratory environment in which you can engage in these activities for a sustained period of time.