A leaderless attempt to transform Egypt?
Following the events of the past week or so, I am struck by the increasingly frequent references to the lack of visible leaders to the protests calling for the ouster of the current president of Egypt. Recent television commentary suggests that the protests began with text messages and online discussions that thus far are not attributed publicly to anybody.
Is it possible for a virtual network to take on the characteristics of leadership? Is the current situation one in which the initiators of the protest movement are remaining in the background, perhaps for their own safety, while others collectively lead?
While the ousting of the current Egyptian president is the presenting issue, is this an example of diverse groups with potentially conflicting goals and objectives rallying around the one point on which they all agree? If so, who will sort out the potentially significant differences and how? Who will ultimately emerge from the reported chaos to unify and lead in Egypt?
As events continue to unfold in Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, and elsewhere, what new leaders will emerge? What roles, practices, and behaviors will the citizens of countries seek? What leadership style will emerge for the evolving context of these countries? Will the leadership style be charismatic, collegial or collaborative, autocratic, situational, or something else, even a unique, situationally-based style?
What vision will emerge from the current conflict situation for leaders to communicate? Press reports in Egypt paint a picture of change and hope, a familiar theme that few would suggest is unique to the United States. Change to what? Hope for what? Will emerging leaders be content with motivational generalities promising something different from the past and, if so, will the populace be content with non-specifics or will they demand detail?
Will leaders seek to not only promote their personal thoughts and agendas or will they collaborate and build consensus among other leaders and interest groups as a coalition to build something new? Will the new leader be as autocratic as the replaced leader seemed to be? Will the new leader communicate and live into a desire to seek what is good for the community even if it is at the expense of personal gain or will the new leader seemingly focus on personal enrichment?
Will the new leader attempt to reconcile the various potentially conflicting parties? If so, what will that reconciliation look like? How do broken relationships get healed and by who? How do have’s and have-not’s come together in community?
What values will emerge as important? Will the culture change and , if so, how? What moral and ethical implications may emerge from the conflict?