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The Evolving Role of Leaders

At one point or another you may have heard someone say, “The problem in San Diego is that we have no leadership.” Do you agree?

For Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of extended studies at UCSD,  the answer is a strong “no.” Walshok recently helped welcome LEAD San Diego’s 2012 IMPACT class.  And while her welcome was short and sweet (about 10 minutes), her words were thought provoking, prompting me — and presumably others in the class — to wonder: what is the role of “leaders” today? Further, what does “leadership” in the future look like?

Walshok advocated that when you have diversity, you have multiple centers of leadership.

“The challenge then becomes, mobilizing these multiple centers of leadership around common causes,” said Walshok, who went on to offer three things needed for leadership.

First, people need to know how and where to access knowledge. Secondly, leaders need to network, including bridging the gap between those individuals with a hyper-local focus, i.e. localites and those who are more cosmopolitan, or global. Lastly, Walshok argues that leaders must know how to harvest the skills of others and empower them.

LEAD San Diego seeks to advance the quality of life in San Diego through a growing network of capable and engaged civic leaders. What does being a leader mean to you? And what skills do you think are needed to demonstrate great leadership?

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