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Transition Process: Practicing Collective Leadership Skills

Submitted by: Natalia Castaneda on Jul 30th, 2013 at 4PM PDT

By Natalia Castañeda and Deborah Meehan

As part of the transition process, Deborah and I decided to participate in Eugene Eric Kim’s Changemaker Bootcamp.  According to Eugene, the bootcamp is a space for people trying to make positive change in their companies, communities and the world to practice the skills they need to work effectively in groups. The participants practice skills for collective leadership, including asking generative questions, strategic doing, listening and synthesizing actively and in real-time, navigating group dynamics and difficult conversations, designing and facilitating group engagements, and working transparently. Eugene provides all the templates and exercises on the Changemaker Bootcamp’s site, so Deborah and I decided to start tackling the exercises during our monthly strategy/transition check-in meeting a few weeks ago.  As part of the program, we had to select a project that we wanted to focus on, and after exploring different ideas we landed on the following: the goal of our project is to implement the team structure that will allow LLC to increase its capacity to meet needs and opportunities.  We wanted to leverage the bootcamp as a time to reflect and practice collective leadership.  The next task was to generate questions related to the goal of the project:


Collective Versus Individual Discussion/Action

  • How as part of a leadership team do I (Deborah) assess all of the things I used to decide alone and become more intentional about which should be discussed between Natalia and myself or which should be handed off to her?
  • What are the critical decision points to involve the entire team?
  • When does the collective input of the team make most sense and when does efficiency require one person deciding?


Power and Transparency

  • What conversations do we need to have about power?
  • How do you negotiate power of decision making in a junior/senior structure?
  • How do we resolve conflicts or disagreements?


Unleashing Leadership Capacity of The Team

  • What’s the right balance between delegating and not delegating?
  • What’s the right balance between providing support and micromanaging?
  • How can we balance supervision structures with collective leadership?
  • Since we are hiring a new Senior Fund Developer, how will he/she fit into the current structure?
  • How are we building the capacity of the entire team?


During our next monthly check-in we will continue with the exercises and figure out strategies to find answers to the questions we identified. Some of them will require the input of the entire team, maybe there will be opportunities to learn from some of you (Natalia will be checking out a group for those in leadership transitions) and we will probably need to experiment, learn from our mistakes and try again.  Stay tuned!