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The potential for leadership is never far - if we look honestly within ourselves and view others as they truly are.

From schools to non profits to large public sector agencies, there are leaders throughout the fabric of organizations. Many of these people do not have fancy formal titles or hold high ranking positions. Much of their work may go unnoticed and unrecognized. Many of their voices are rarely heard until we take the time to listen. They are the janitors, the front desk staff, the computer technicians, the cooks, the administrative assistants, the van drivers,... They are people who can create the pulse of an organization and who, through many years of dedicated service, have come to know what an organization is really about and can help shape where it is going.

After our 200-person book launch at Hunter College School of Social Work, Willie Tolliver and I were lucky enough a week later to be invited to speak about our book Stories of Transformative Leadership in the Human Services: Why the Glass is Always Full by our good friend Emily Rubin at the Supportive Housing Network of New York’s (SHNNY) 9th annual conference at the New York Hilton.

It went well; hell, it went really well. We started with 100 people in the room and ended with 125 folks, some of them crammed against the exit door. Nobody left, we got thoughtful questions, lots of folks wanted to buy the book. All good. Emily had ensured a well-organized event, and she came through. We felt honored to have been there; happy to see some former students’ faces, equally pleased that most came for the topic and not because we were known to them at all.

I remember, when I was a teenager, in my village, when there were problems or new rules for the village, my uncle whose name is SAMBA used to call all the elders to attend a meeting; we can call it "a get-together" in order to gather people to discuss problems, to find solutions or settle new rules. We used to gather for Open Space sitting on the dirt around a Baobab tree or else.

Open Space is attended very often in African rural areas and it is a good traditional useful way to solve most problems without having recourse to city authorities or governments.

Here is a picture to show what it looks like in Africa.
Fode Sanokho from Dakar

palabre.jpg

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