17: Leadership in community work

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Who are the leaders when we talk about community work practice – and where are they? This was the starting point for this chapter, leading to a wide exploration across interesting terrain with an emergent focus on leadership courage and values in action. The reader will find practical case studies and the voice of practitioners as leaders in uncertain times as the role of leadership – as distinct from management – becomes more critical. The valuable role of community leaders is unpicked through the chapter in parallel with the practice of those operating in organisational community work settings. We look more closely at leadership under the headings of agile transformation, design thinking and digital transformation as we face a rapidly changing field of work and seek to prepare our workforce skills in tune with this. We uncover an emphasis on team and collective decision making within a context of both individual responsibility and leadership requirements. Our challenge questions and principles for practice provide support for reflection in this regard, accepting that we are all leaders at times.

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