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Leadership Building Call from CommunityMatters, Feb. 13th

CM_logo-200pxWe are pleased to invite NCDD members once again to join our partners at CommunityMatters for the next installation in their capacity-building call series, which is jointly hosted by the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design. This month’s call is titled “Building Leadership for the Long Haul”, and it will be taking place next Thursday, February 13th, from 3 – 4:15pm Eastern Time.

The call will feature insights on developing leaders in our communities from Milan Wall of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development. The folks at CM describe the upcoming call this way:

What’s the difference between a plan that’s put into place and one that’s put on a shelf? People. If you want something to show for your hard work, you need to build strong local leadership and grassroots support. This webinar will focus on how to grow effective local leaders who can nurture volunteers, corral resources and build the public support that can move community design or planning work from paper to practice.

Join Milan Wall from the Heartland Center for Leadership Development to learn about their research on keys to thriving communities and effective leadership. Milan will describe characteristics of effective local leaders, roles and responsibilities to guide community action, and tips for recruiting new leaders in a changing world.

We highly encourage you to save the date and register for the call today by clicking here.

To help get mentally prepared for the call, we also suggest that you check out the most recent CM blog post by Ariana McBride about community leadership. The post is full of helpful resources and links, and we’ve included it below. You can also find the original here.

We hope to hear you on the call next week!

What It Takes to Be an Effective Community Leader

When I think of the effective community leaders I’ve met what stands out to me is that no one image fits them all. Sure, I remember instances of long standing, charismatic city councilors leading the charge for a new initiative. But I’ve got just as many stories of soft spoken, unheralded volunteers making a difference in their communities. The traditional image of the lone hero with all the answers is not what drives change in most places. You’ve got to know what you need in a leader to really get things done based on your community’s unique situation.

I’m not alone in this assertion. Research, like that of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, points to how leadership has evolved over time and how the most effective leaders have core qualities like inspiring a shared vision and empowering other people to take action. And while communities will still have traditional strong leaders the most successful will learn how to share leadership, the Centre for Innovative and Entrepreneurial Leadership (CIEL) suggests. As CIEL says this means recognizing “that everyone is a leader in some respect.”

In order to embrace the power of shared leadership we’ve got to learn how to creatively leverage the different talents and skills that people offer. Take the example of the outdoor library classroom we heard about on a recent CommunityMatters call. The Richfield Branch Library in Akron, OH was able to create a wonderful space because it drew on the passion of a librarian and the skills of a local gardening club. Tools like capacity inventories are helpful for getting people to see what they can contribute to a local effort.

Much of community leadership is recognizing the big and small contributions of all people in making their city or town a better place. Drew Dudley talks about this as “everyday leadership.” In this funny video, Drew shares what he calls one story of the “lollipop moment”, which speaks to how we all need to do a better job at acknowledging how leadership shows up in everyday life. Perhaps the biggest challenge of community leadership is to understand what kind of leaders your town needs based on your unique local context.

Many organizations have ways of assessing a community’s current conditions, like CIEL’s Community Life Cycles Matrix or the Harwood Institute’s Community Rhythms, which can be helpful starting points for figuring out what the best next steps are for your town.

If you do community work in small towns or big cities you know that we are up against myriad challenges and the more people that we can inspire to become civically involved, the better. The good news is that leaders can be cultivated through a variety of development programs. As Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.”

If you are ready to take on greater leadership in your community – or are looking for ways to inspire others to do so then our February 13th webinar is for you. We’ll be hosting a special 75-minute webinar where you’ll hear from Milan Wall, Co-Director of the Heartland Center for Leadership Development. Milan will describe characteristics of effective local leaders, roles and responsibilities for community action, and tips for recruiting and growing new leaders in a changing world. Milan has over 40 years of experience in contending with the challenges of small town change and is a respected leader in the community development field. He’ll give participants practical guidance through a thoughtful and interactive call experience.

Get ready to lead the way in 2014 by registering for the webinar today!

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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