Foundations that enable community leadership diversity:
The CLD space is complex, diverse and always changing. So, rather than following a recipe or a roadmap or one leader out front, we are constantly learning and adapting our responses. Each local context is different, yet holding some core things in common helps bind and grow sustained community leadership. Leadership development usefully focuses on influencing some key ingredients (values, culture, vision, relationships and processes) in each unique local context, so that they are strong enough to hold the diversity of people, aspirations and approaches.
These common ingredients grow one conversation at a time, as we work with where the energy, enthusiasm and tensions are. Examples of common ingredients supporting strong CLD include:
- having a strong culture around manaakitanga/hospitality, generosity, whanaungatanga/relationship, connection and respect for each other –that holds us through the times when our different ways of doing things can get difficult!
- growing a broadly shared kaupapa/purpose and inclusive tikanga/protocols for how to work together – even though what each person contributes and the community-building actions, projects & pathways will all differ.
- intentionally listening and noticing who is involved, who is marginalised, what needs to shift to redistribute power and allow different people to lead at different times, and at the same time in different ways, from many corners of the community.
- encouraging people to take risks, to learn by doing and to bring their curiosity to reflecting, individually and collectively. We make plans, but many random things happen too! So we need intentional processes that support our openness to learn from, and with, each other along the way and adapt as we go. As we share our successes, failures, conflicts and questions we find shared wisdom about what needs to happen next.
Collective wisdom comes from listening, noticing and making sense of the patterns that emerge over time – and discerning over and over again how we best respond. Collaborative inquiry builds knowledge grounded in practice. Such knowledge is an important form of evidence that helps us validate, articulate, reinforce and expand our learning about what works and why.