Tribal leadership is about guiding a group of people to improve themselves. This process involves coaching individuals at different stages in their lives so they can reach the next level of performance. Ultimately, a critical mass of individuals will make a change in the culture of the tribe. This occurs as the members of a tribe support the tribal leader and start to respect the leader’s authority.
In this book, John King, a management consultant, provides an overview of the theory of tribal leadership and how to make a difference in your company’s culture. Tribal leadership is an effective way to develop the cultures of your employees. In addition to fostering employee happiness, this type of leadership will enhance the bottom line.
Tribal leadership is a type of management based on the principle that every organization consists of five distinct stages, or tribes, that are each characterized by a specific tribe’s culture. This theory makes it easier to understand the behavior and leadership of leaders in different levels. Lower-level tribes tend to have less inspired and less productive employees, so improving the performance of these employees is essential to the overall performance of an organization.
The first stage is the lowest level of tribal development. Tribes in this stage are usually composed of two-person relationships. They recognize the importance of leveraging one’s talents and skills, but are often self-centered and individualistic. If you want to lead a tribe in the next stage, you need to help your members understand the value of teamwork and building relationships. You can help your tribe move to stage four by encouraging them to develop networks and work together as a group.
Learning about tribal leadership requires patience and a willingness to listen. Once you get to know tribal people, you can begin to understand the importance of leadership and their way of life. While visiting a reservation, keep in mind that time changes, and you will want to schedule time for a meal or community event. This can take a while, so don’t expect to meet all of the people you want to meet. You should try to avoid the temptation to jump into a discussion too quickly.
Stage four: When the tribe reaches stage four, it is more likely to be accountable to each other, and to work together to overcome competition. The tribe leader will be the one who builds triadic relationships based on shared values. This helps members resolve conflicts and exchange information freely through a network, allowing the tribe to become more adaptive and productive.
Tribal leaders are often known as chiefs. They are the head of a council of elders, who make decisions that affect the community’s welfare. Sometimes, a chief must seek the consent of a council of women before he can make important decisions. For example, the women in the Cherokee council did not allow men to go to war without the consent of their council.
Extension professionals working with indigenous populations should understand the uniqueness of tribal leadership and its role in fostering tribal acculturation. Working with tribal populations requires that educators provide research-based educational information. By understanding tribal culture and leadership, Extension professionals can be more effective in their work with tribal communities. The results of their research will inform Extension policies and programs. This will help them better work with their students and clients. It will also help them understand the impact of cultural acculturation and interventions on tribal leadership.
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