November 11, 2010 11:43 am

Yet in my experience, a community requires more leadership than a hierarchy does. A hierarchy has clear goals, a well-established division of labor, and a set of policies about how things are supposed to run; if the machine is well designed and well lubricated, it can almost run itself. A community is a chaotic, emergent, and creative force field that needs constant tending. And when a community’s aims are countercultural, as they are in a circle of trust, its need for tending is even greater. Lacking a leader grounded in the principles, skilled at the practices, and granted the authority to lead, a circle of trust will fail because the relational culture it requires is so rare and so fragile.” — Parker Palmer in A Hidden Wholeness