Why leadership?

AKOU recently held a captivating evening of discussion at the Cockpit Theatre focused on the future of leadership. We wanted to explore how the ideals, structures and perceptions of leadership could be disrupted. We hoped the evening would explore how best to meet the needs of our current times. 

But why did AKOU feel it necessary to explore leadership as a topic? Here are three reasons why we did: 

1. Understanding communities

Our work with communities on redevelopment projects and placemaking initiatives has introduced us to many different types of leaders. Leaders who contribute to their local area in many different ways. A main driver for starting AKOU was to build a system that would help identify those not so obvious, yet absolutely vital contributors to a local community. Those that lead through acts of generosity, knowledge sharing, connecting and support. Whether that is with their time, space, open mindedness, creativity or organisational skills. There are so many undercover leaders that exist within local communities our mission is to uncover and demonstrate their value. 

Network structure

2. Leadership crisis

The behaviour and rhetoric of so many of our current political and commercial leaders is shocking and deplorable. Therefore, there is no better time than now to discuss ideals of leadership. We felt a debate on what leadership could look like and how outdated models could be disrupted was an ideal subject to collectively explore. 

Leadership structures: A school of fish swimming in a pond

3. Growing a team

Creating a startup requires a strong team. As we have grown AKOU we have learnt a number of valuable lessons. Many of which have taught us how best to develop a team. We have spent time ourselves exploring which elements are needed to create strong teams and company cultures. We have learnt through experience and from others of the role of leadership within a startup environment. True of any business, a successful team needs a clear priority, support for one another and a sense of ownership. Empowerment and autonomy are a vital elements to instil in team members. They help to encourage growth and development as they also take on roles of leadership.  

These three differing points played a pivotal role in our wish to explore leadership. Above all, we felt it most important to examine hoe leadership could be disrupted for the better. Explore what our panelists presented and debated with regards to their thoughts around disrupting leadership by reading our summary here.