How hosts can lead by stepping back

2 Mar

I had a great time at the UK Art of Hosting gathering in Birmingham on Saturday.  About 18 of us met as a follow-on to the AoH event at Hazlewood in Devon last autumn (which I reported on in the SFWork blog at http://sfworkblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/art-of-hosting-very-interesting-meta-method-of-change-practice/).  Much of the time was spent in Open Space, with some interesting topics like ‘a new language for sustainability’.  

One of the participants (Amanda) convened a session on hosting and leadership.  We spent some time on discussing the connections between good hosting (which seems to involve stepping back from centre stage) and leading (showing where we want to be going).  Techno-shamen George Por had a very clear response to this – to convene a discussion is an act of leadership.  The host can enable people to be more conscious and aware of the issues – which is in itself an act of good hosting.  The host CAN lead by stepping back – but usually they have stepped forward first (with an invitation, a call, a question).

We also discussed how hosts use language of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’ or ‘they’ – another good clue about how to spot a host leader when you see one.   More on the Art of Hosting community at http://www.artofhosting.org/home/.

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