Bring up with your group the possibility of becoming a shared leadership team. Share resources like this one about what it might entail, and seek a shared commitment to explore this possibility.
Identify the unique as well as common leadership skills in your group. What are each member’s strongest skills and how did they develop them? Consider effective and fun ways to learn from each others’ strengths. Set goals for which leadership skills different members want to develop. Consider ways to buddy up with each other as mentors to help that to happen.
Find safe, compassionate ways to give each other specific, constructive feedback and suggestions in areas where each other’s leadership is not as strong. Do constructive feedback trainings and follow-up practice sessions together enough times to create a group norm that it’s safe, energizing, valuable and necessary to give each other authentic and compassionate feedback. Build up the group this way as a self-evolving living system with strong and effective feedback loops. Support staying clear with each other.
Name & acknowledge together the old-model leadership patterns and problems (isolated, heroic, controlling, overworked, martyr-like, secretive, patriarchal, etc.) in yourself and in your group in detailed, specific ways. Identify how each member of the leadership of your organization or community may be feeding into these patterns and problems.
Consider obvious or hidden hierarchy, power and privilege issues in your team related to age, gender, class, race, culture, expertise, education degrees, ability, looks, etc. Use diversity work tools to deal with what comes up.
Consider the challenges each leader faces in effectively delegating key leadership roles they are particularly good at. Find ways to help each other get better at delegating.
Support leadership models that include healthy boundaries and “personal sustainability” (define together what that means). Work individually and collectively on being as balanced, flexible and open as possible and learning how to share responsibility and power.
Consider how to optimize how you co-lead. Identify people who are already effectively co-leading in your organization or community. Survey and learn from what’s already working well.
Do experiential leadership trainings, such as ropes courses and nature challenge experiences, with the intent of building team collaboration and solidarity at profound nonverbal levels. Do outdoor trainings that utilize the inspiration and wisdom inherent in natural systems as part of the learning process.
Do leadership trainings that present and apply living systems principles and systems thinking strategies. Utilize these frameworks to help your group think and function in more interconnected ways, give people a shared language, including inspiring metaphors, of whole systems functioning.
Research examples of successful team leadership in a variety of settings similar to your own, esp. in your area, and discover key lessons, principles and skills. If possible, meet with the people or have them lead a workshop or panel with your group
Use visual and verbal reminders at team meetings or projects that help people let go of heroic, isolated, controlling leadership models and embrace collaborative, co-creative, empowering approaches.
Sustainable Living Associates Elan Shapiro Updated 11-29-15