Disrupting Online Traditional Leadership

Have you ever witnessed a flock of birds flying in the sky?  Seemingly thousands of them flying in unison as they fly back and forth, side to side in the sky.  Have you ever wondered how the heck they do it?  Is it some internal, Star Trek-type communications system they use?  flock

Maggie Fox, Founder and CEO of Social Media Group, calles it “flock behaviour”.  According to this concept, birds, ants and other social animals are able to move rhythmically because they move in context to how those beside them move.  Its the same thing you see in action when you watch Canada’s famous Snowbirds take flight during airshows across the country.

Traditionally, the largest group in front of the flock decides where the whole flock travels to.  However, Maggie proposes that with online communities large groups are not necessary for success.  Quoting from studies done by Professor Hai-Ta Zheng of the University of Cambridge, Maggie suggests that even small group of people or even an individual can affect change.  This, she calls distributed leadership. 

With distributed leadership, Maggie argues that this disruption of traditional leadership can help create social movements in online communities.  For example, in many online communities, nobody really knows each other.  We don’t know everyone’s professional or educational credentials.  what is known is the person’s online trust factor, or lack thereof.

Leadership expert, John Maxwell says that “leadership is influence.”  And on the web, influence is everything.

Maggie Fox recently shared these insights at the recent EPIC EpCon 2010 Conference in Waterloo, Ontario.