Page 89

When discussing actors and influence, a discussion about leadership is necessarily in place. Leaders make a difference. Leaders can be individuals, groups, or organizations; they can be loosely structured or tightly woven. One could speak of elites, in a good and a bad sense. Of movers and shakers, of community builders, of power brokers. People talk of protectors, guardians, icons, and heroes, of inspiring examples, communicators, and networkers. There can be powers behind power, hiding outside the spotlight. Leadership, in other words, has many forms and faces, some more appreciated than others, some present in formal politics, others not. Leadership can be self-serving, community-oriented, or both, and only some sorts of leadership will be recognized locally. Each time and place has its own form of leadership and its own aspirations for good leadership. Path mapping as the mapping of actors, institutions, power, and knowledge over time requires mapping of leadership and reflection on leadership past and present. This aspect of mapping helps bridge analysis and strategizing, as leaders are the individuals who make things happen. Even well-crafted institutions do not perform by themselves, and their performance will derail without leadership. Adaptive capacity and resilience are a matter of institutional design, and of discerning leadership. Roles and rules, actors and institutions by themselves provide the frame for action, but not the impetus for desirable change. Radical participation has never worked, can never exist for long on its own, and does not provide an alternative for structured leadership. In a democratic combination of participation and representation, with institutional frameworks expected to guide the evolution of the community, leadership cannot be excluded. Leadership can be both visionary and destructive, even at the same time. Just as with corporate management, it should not be fetishized nor glorified. Management can, in both public and private sectors, function as governance administration, and can indeed fulfill a leadership role. Leaders can wreak havoc in a community, and strong leadership can do more harm than weaker leaders. On the other hand, absent leadership introduces a different vulnerability, absence of direction and implementation. City councils are not necessarily the sole or most influential leaders; leadership can be found in other places or it can be largely absent, for instance, when influential factions exist but no one actor has a vision for or an influence on the whole community. One strong voice in council can bring leadership, whether it is found in a faction, or with an economic interest behind it. Discerning sources of leadership and direction is the domain of path mapping.

Part III: Boom/Bust:Moving forwards: Path and context mapping

77

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Advertisement