We believe in organising in a way that is more horizontal than vertical. We believe in equalising participation, and resisting social hierarchies. But the word leadership can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, and in my experience, it tends to be something that we do without thinking too much about it. For some, leadership involves the creation of hierarchies, for others, it can look more like a collective that is disorganised and lacks direction. Taking leadership can mean taking initiative, on moving a project or task forward. It can mean taking responsibility for recognising what is needed and stepping up individually or collectively to do that thing. At Sparks we think it is important to foster models of dispersed leadership that promotes responsibility, accountability and effectiveness.
If we really want to change the world, we need more people stepping up to take initiative. The more initiative we take in our work together, the greater the collective capacity will be. Building our collective power is one of the most important challenges in grassroots organising.
We need to build a culture where we’re all invited to step up. This means stepping up in ways that make space for others to step up – where others feel invited to step up and take initiative, too. “Stepping up” can mean actively listening to an learning from others. It can mean, taking time to recognise and value many different forms of leadership in the group. And it can mean looking for and nurturing leadership potential in others, who might not feel entitled to step forward uninvited or unsupported.
A culture that values healthy leadership is one that also prizes accountability, in which we are responsible for and accountable to one another. But this accountability must go hand in hand with a group culture that values leadership.
Sparking Change is here taking part in building a movement where we’re constantly encouraging each other to step into our full potential and shone as a collective of leaders working together for a better world.Let’s all be leaders!