Leadership used to be based on asymmetric power relations, but networks work differently. Network relations are typically more symmetric. There is less dependency between people. In symmetric systems, leadership needs to be handed to the community itself without any single individual being in control, or trying to be in control. The solution is simple in theory but very hard in practice. It is about active participation and responsiveness. Leadership is communication. The leaders, people worth following, raise bottom up. There is always going to be hierarchies, but hierarchies in network architectures are dynamic, contextual heterarchies. In fact, this is the only way that there can be leaders in democratic systems.

Esko Kilpi