Collaborative Leadership

bottom-up, efficient leadership, including structures to support feedback

In order to support all of us involved towards progressively deeper practice realization, it is critical that from the outset a structure for the program that is lightweight and easy to support. If responsibility for organizational leadership - fundraising being a primary example - is concentrated on any small set of individuals - those individuals in positions of teaching authority being a primary example - this will become a burden for them, a hindrance to their own cultivation of quietude and realization.

Two things follow from this. First, it is important to structure retreats such that they will not have the large costs of owning or renting institutional space. That will also require a good deal of collaborative volunteer work, and it is crucial to the sustainability of this program that from the outset organizational leadership tasks are shared collaboratively.

One particular inspiration here is the collaborative leadership structure that folks at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education have recently been developing for administering teen retreats. This endeavor requires the following components:

  • Each person knows what their role is and the responsibilities associated with that role and holds ownership for the decisions related to those responsibilities.

  • Each person’s skill set fits well with the role they are in and is personally invested in meeting challenging areas of their role.

  • Each person knows how and with whom to communicate about a given topic. This includes soliciting input and feedback.

Each page of this website represents an area of responsibility. The Roles at the bottom of each page provide clarity about who is holding which aspects.

  • (1) Gathering: takes primary responsibility for gathering collective energies of Collaborators in this area, including scheduling group meetings and ensuring goals met in a timely manner.

  • (2) Collaborators: take an active role as a member of the team in this area, gathering information including from Consultants, making collective decisions, and carrying out consequent work

  • (3) Consultants: indicate areas they would like to be consulted in, provide initial input in those areas, and offer further advice when requested by the team in this area

The first series of online modules offered in 2019-2020 will include, along with other areas of study, further background sufficient to for being an active participant in the structure that we design together. We will set aside lecture and discussion time within the online Study portions to provide an introduction to collaborative leadership. As part of small teams, newer community members will be mentored by those with more experience, collectively taking responsibility for core aspects of the program.

This team will also be responsible for adopting behavioral guidelines and feedback mechanisms, or for ensuring that another team is formed to do so.