Ways to Cultivate Leadership as a Collective Achievement

RCLA views leadership as a collective achievement - an active process in which people come together to pursue change, and in doing so collectively develop a shared vision of what the world should look like, make sense of their experience, and shape their decisions and actions.

In practice, this means distributing the work of leadership among a group working toward a joint goal. It means emphasizing relationships over a "command and control" style of directing work, promoting sustainable change over efficiency, and appreciating the power of many and multiple voices.

Here are ways to cultivate leadership as a collective achievement, not just something that belongs to individuals:

1. Keep your eyes open - Look for leadership in unexpected places. Seek out people with potential or who are creating positive changes that aren't recognized yet and appreciate their work.

2. Watch and learn - Pay attention to the creative ways people are getting work done within your organization and write them down to share with others.

3. Mobilize everyone - With new challenges, have everyone take responsibility for getting the work done, rather that delegating duties in an authoritative way.

4. Trust team wisdom - In uncertain times, have faith in the intelligence of collaborative thinking and encourage joint action.

5. Get creative - Don't be scared of contradictory demands. By finding alternative ways to meet both needs, you will create a better process for the long term.

6. Open up space - Find opportunities for others to step up into stretch assignments while offering support to ensure learning and success.

7. Encourage purposeful learning - If possible, avoid fi nding quick answers to messy problems that require exploring group assumptions, challenging old ways of thinking and doing, and gathering new information.

8. Honor diversity - Make sure there is a common vision but value the strength that comes from differences as well as commonalities.

9. Draw on differences - By hearing more ideas and different perspectives, your decisions will be better informed and your work more effective.

10. Pause and inquire - Take stock, refl ect and draw lessons from times when you have seen the staff fully empowered to move the work forward.

11. Celebrate wins as communal events - Highlight and honor group achievements, not just individual accomplishments.

12. Reframe the meaning of success - Identify and tell stories of signifi cant leadership efforts that have relied on many people to highlight the combined power of individual contributions - move from stories of "I" to stories of "we."

13. Invite participation - Remember that the process can be as important as the solution. If you involve many people fully in the process, they will all "own" the outcome.

14. Draw on deep sources of meaning - Identify and understand the deeply held values of each member of the group and use them to strengthen team spirit and give meaning to the work.