Leadership in campaigns – links for Sheila McKechnie Foundation 'Masterclass'

I was invited to speak today at a Sheila McKechnie Foundation ‘Masterclass’ on leadership in campaigns – mobilising internally and externally. It was a fun session sharing alongside Claire Hazelgrove from Friends of the Earth, and a group of 20 or so campaign leaders from across the campaigning community in the UK.
We looked at what it means to lead internally within our organisation and externally in coalitions. I draw on a few themes that I’ve written about before on this blog, but wanted to pull together some of the resources I mentioned during the session, both for those who came along (thanks for joining) and others who might be interested.
Leading Internally

  • When it comes to leading others, it’s really helpful to take the time to consider your leadership style. Tools like Strengthfinder, Myers-Briggs, or www.16personalities.com can be helpful for thinking about this, and then having a conversation as a team or with who manage you.
  • I’ve found the writing of Margaret Wheatley, who wrote this excellent and very accessible paper (it’s only 6 pages long) on ‘host leadership’ a few years ago excellent and speaks to some of the differences of leading campaigners.
  • These are a few more of my thoughts about leading campaign, and the importance of making sense of the story for those your leading, and the need to continue to share your theory of change.
  • I’d encourage any campaign leader to create space to be curious. Some of my thinking has been drawn from the work of Duncan Green and idea of dancing with the system, see my post here on his ideas, and a link to his book ‘How Change Happens‘.  I’d also really recommend this by Kate Norgrove who has just finished as Head of Campaigns at Water Aid asking how we know if we’ve made a difference.
  • This is more about the DARCI tool that Claire shared.
  • When it comes to leading ourselves, I’ve spotted a few people sharing www.findingsteadyground.com in the last few weeks, this is timeless advice and plantothrive.net.au is a good set of resources from Australia.

Leading Externally

  • I really enjoyed the discussion about how we maintain hope in difficult times. If you’ve not watched Selma, Pride, Milk, Cry Freedom or the many other great films on campaigning then do (this list has some other ideas), and I think it’s prompted me writing another post about the leaders behind the leaders of great campaign movements. As Claire reminded us we should never forget these words of Martin Luther King

  • On how our tactics need to respond to the times we find ourselves in. I’d recommend a read of Micah White’s ‘End of Protest‘ not an easy read but a really interesting one.


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