Thursday, May 26, 2011

Do you have what it takes to build a green movement?

For years I've believed that the best way to share the green life was in living by example. Do green things and let friends, family and co-workers watch, hoping they'd catch on and join the game. At times this has met with moderate success, but mostly I've just been known as the resident tree-hugger, preaching to the choir and otherwise letting folks mind their own business. 

Thanks to some leadership training that I am benefiting from as part of my masters program, I've been learning more about what it takes to be an effective leader. Integrity, self-expression, self-awareness, humility and a knack for strategy are all winning characteristics, but a willingness to take risks is key. Last night we watched an amusing video short on creating a movement and now it all seems so simple.

Key Points for leaders: Be willing to take a risk, nurture your followers, be easy to follow, and embrace your followers as equals.
Key Point for everyone else:  Leadership is over is the first follower that transforms the first nut into a leader. The best way to make a movement is to courageously follow!

So, if you've got a knack for leadership do something different and noticeable, but be easy to follow and supportive of your first few followers.  If you are a follower, look for those in your community who are taking the lead and joyfully follow! Together, we can build a movement!

Readers I'd love to hear from you: What do you do to be a leader in the green movement? And or could you be a better follower? How can we better support current green leaders?

6 comments: said...

I'm leading but nobody is following

Jessica Pfohl said...

We just disclosed all of the ingredients in our zero-VOC paint, and are hoping that other paint companies will follow our lead. There's no way for consumers to separate green from greenwashing when it comes to paint if they don't even know what's in it. A bit risky, but somebody has to start.

Jessica Pfohl
Unearthed Paints

AmazinAlison said...

I've been a leader, but rarely supportive of my followers. And I think that is why in the video he says "be supportive of your followers and treat them like equals." Case in point, I've got a friend who tried cloth diapering when her daughter was born 3 months after mine. I shared some brands and suggestions with her, but then pretty much left her be. Later I felt bitter and critical when she in my eye, dropped the ball and went back to disposable.

Was I supportive of her? Golly no, I decided she just wasn't dedicated enough. Did I talk to her about it? Nope, decided it wasn't my place to do so. Did I treat her like an equal? Nope.

Lesson learned, the next time I get a friend to follow, I will be proactive. I will not just give advice, but ask questions, be supportive and treat her like an equal!

SustainaMom said...

I saw this video a while back and thought it was funny, but what a great example and wonderful points the narrator makes. I tend to do my own thing and share info with friends/family who express an interest, but I am not vocal enough as a follower to help encourage true momentum.

Brenda Pike said...

That's great! I'm not very comfortable being a leader, but I guess it still takes guts to be a first follower and make a difference.

What master's program are you doing? I just started a master's in urban environmental policy and planning at Tufts, and I'm hoping it'll push me to the next level of really making this interest (really, hobby, so far) something I can dedicate my life to.

AmazinAlison said...

@Brenda -- this is a very delayed response as I wrote this and left the country for 5 plus weeks...

I am doing a MNM (Masters in Nonprofit Management) at Regis University in Denver, CO.

A degree in urban policy and planning should certainly give you many opportunities to take your goals (or desires) to the next level!


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