Collective leadership is a way for diverse groups of people in our communities to hold purpose, direction, and action cooperatively.
Collective leadership requires us to expand our notion of leadership from the solo perspective of “I” to include the powerful “We”- keeping both the “I” and the “We” as equal partners.
Collective leadership starts with community and ends up with people creating something together that would not have been possible to imagine before they began.
Collective leadership means that once people have arrived at a sense of the whole, individuals are liberated to use their own gifts to advance the work.
Collective leadership mean listening to those who want to contribute ideas and valuing their perspective.
The four patterns that are named in The Collective Leadership Storybook: Weaving Strong Communities are:
- We take time to form deep relationships with each other.
- We cross boundaries that keep us from working with other who share our purpose.
- We trust community wisdom and tap into it to find the answers it holds.
- We know our story and together imagine the narrative for our community.
These patterns, when practiced together, form collective leadership capable of weaving a new social fabric.
Collective leadership invites power to be shared and finds the way for all of us to contribute our gifts- whatever our formal positions. It has a fluid quality that allows people to take risks and be part of what has meaning for them. We are all teachers and students.
A growing number of communities around the country are practicing and deepening collective leadership to improve the quality of life in their communities. More information about this is available at www.communitylearningexchange.org.
The Center for Ethical Leadership, along with other national partners, sponsors three day Community Learning Exchanges that allow teams to have face-to-face experiences developing their own collective leadership and planning for how to take their learning home.
We are available to support groups wanting to explore this approach through coaching and/or developing trainings.