Turn on the news and there is little doubt, equity is under assault... from attempts to repeal ACA, taxation proposals to cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, to attacks on undocumented workers and Muslims. We need to build a new equity consciousness and set of practices into leadership development work to nurture our individual and collective resistance to stand up for social and racial justice.
We will not host a webinar in December, the holidays always present a challenge for scheduling. However, this year, we have been humbled by the number of you that joined us for our webinars. They were so well received that we decided to share them again for those of you who missed them the first time around. Below are our top five most popular webinars; enjoy!
In the past, we’ve highlighted the work of Community Connections as a model for us to learn from. We even worked together to host our last Creating Space together. As many of you may recall, Community Connections works to empower communities to create change by granting funds to local projects. Their model requires community-led proposal analyses via panels. They grant on average between $500-$5,000 for projects and these seed funds, in turn, create avenues for nontraditional leadership development. Being on the ground, Community Connections develops individuals and teams as part of whole communities. They meet individuals where they are and respond quickly to the needs of six specific neighborhoods in Detroit, Michigan.
I was especially excited to interview Patrick Brown, Director of the Leadership Academy at Greenlining Institute, for our Mindfulness Matters column when I learned that he, as someone who directs a leadership academy with multiple programs, also has a strong personal meditation practice. I expected to gain important insights about the ways in which mindfulness practices support leadership development from Patrick. I did and I am sure you will as well.
In August I attended the Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership in Stowe, Vermont. I was invited (and strongly encouraged to attend) by one of several important mentors in my life, Sharon Daloz Parks, so I made the stretch to attend even though it was a significant commitment of time and resources. The event, inspired by the Dalai Lama and hosted by the Mind and Life Institute, was described as an inquiry around three questions:
In this time of disruption--
- Can we conceive of a (normative) understanding and practice of leadership that takes into account those who suffer most? (The Dalai Lama's question)
- Can we move the dial on shifting the leadership spotlight from a primary focus on individual leadership formation to moving the social field?
- What is the (necessary?) role of contemplation in relationship to such leadership?
As the year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my growth in the last year and what increases my own development. I believe that the way we as individuals and organizations do or don’t accept, appreciate, and even celebrate failures is highly linked to our growth. Errors, mistakes, and failures are all a part of life. However the way that we respond to these moments is what defines our development.
Some places believe that mistakes are a demarcation of irreparable failure. However, this is a misguided sense of what leadership is. Leadership is not perfection, but rather a process towards improving individuals, organizations, and communities. This process includes mistakes because these can be opportunities to learn, innovate, and grow.
Creating Space XII took place not so long ago and it was an opportunity to learn about what it means to develop non-traditional leadership. CSXII brought together a diverse group of leaders. Interestingly enough, so many present did not consider themselves leaders, they simply saw themselves doing the work.
One of the most impactful parts of Creating Space XII for me was going to the field to understand how art and culture was transforming communities. Right away from the moment we landed, Detroit did not feel like other locations. We were not close to downtown, and the large structures close to our hotel felt
The following was written by our Creating Space XII facilitator Jeffrey Jones.
Greetings Creating Space XII family,
As some time has passed since our shared journey into non-traditional leadership at Creating Space XII, I have had the opportunity for reflection and I thought I would take this opportunity to relate my some of my perspectives and learning with everyone. Undoubtedly, the raw emotions and genuine examples of non-traditional leadership that we experienced during Creating Space XII are testaments to our collective commitment to this work; to witness it first-hand at Grace in Action and the Oakland Avenue Market Garden turned a mirror upon ourselves and the tremendous work that we all do.
Creating Space 2015 has the potential to change the conversation about leadership development if we listen deeply to the voices and experiences of people on the ground doing heavy lifting change work in their schools, neighborhoods, and communities. There were several important questions that surfaced during Creating Space 2015:
What is leadership (or who is a leader)?
What is leadership development?
What are the problems with these concepts and language?
When Hurricane Sandy hit, a self organized network quickly emerged from pre-existing networks and new volunteers that resoundingly out performed traditional relief agencies. Why and how was this network able to do this? What does leadership look like in situations such as this that are complex and ever shifting? In our webinar we explored the nuts and bolts of self organizing, strategies for supporting such networks and how self organized strategies and leadership can be applied to your work on complex problems. However, some questions remained for participants. Below are the answers to your pending questions.