I'm still struggling with my sense of unease about the notion of leadership as competence - something like management that can be identified, distilled, analysed, abstracted, codified and replicated.
Perhaps leadership isn't primarily something that lies within the individual - that's potential. It's an expression of an inspirational dynamic that sometimes takes place between people, rather than first and foremost a description of the intrinsic attributes or behaviours of a particular person or people per se.
It emerges, sometimes unexpectedly, when people interact with one another in a specific relational and cultural environment. It's a mysterious dynamic that sparks and sustains desire, movement and transformation. In this sense, leadership is essentially a social and contextual phenomenon, not an individual abstract one.
I wonder if this dynamic between people, emerging in the creative space generated through relating and relationship, implying connection and synergy at some deep interpersonal level, is also a dynamic inhabited and energised by the leading and liberating presence of the Spirit. It's about leading between and leading within.
Yes, some people do display observable behavioural characteristics commonly associated with 'good leadership' - characteristics that can be described in a practical competency framework - but I still have the sense there's a profound dimension to leadership that is so much more than that.
Nick is a freelance coach, trainer and OD consultant specialising in reflective practice.