Leadership as releasing the energy of others
Writing a literature review for the new version of my PhD proposal, I looked at The adult learner book for a citation. Random page brought me to the chapter titled Making things happen by releasing the energy of others, a reprint of Malcolm Knowles' earlier paper. While I look at half a year back blue outlining, it becomes clear that this is the best representation of beliefs driving my PhD ideas. Beliefs don’t fit in the formal proposal, but they are perfect here.
It's about leadership, but for me this is the essence of KM:
...the highest function of leadership is releasing the energy of the people in the system and managing the process for giving that energy direction toward mutually beneficial goals.
Malcolm Knowles calls it creative leadership and proposes several characteristics of creative leaders (note – every paragraph is different citation; pp.203-209).
Creative leaders make a different set of assumption (essentially positive) about human nature from the assumptions (essentially negative) made by controlling leaders.
Creative leaders accept as a law of human nature that people feel a commitment to a decision in proportion to the extend that they feel they have participated in making it.
Creative leaders believe in and use the power of self-fulfilling prophesy.
Creative leaders highly value individuality. They sense that people perform at a higher level when they are operating on the basis of their unique strength, talents, interests, and goals than when they are trying to conform to some imposed stereotype.
Creative leaders stimulate and reward creativity.
Creative leaders are committed to a process of continues change and are skilful in managing change.
Creative leaders emphasize internal motivators over external motivators.
Creative leaders encourage people to be self-directing.