How can we raise each other up?

The current period of enforced online working can feel like it brings a lot of down-sides, and I certainly now find my mind drifting more frequently to the personal interactions and variety of events, meetings and locations that I am missing. 

One of the real up-sides that we have experienced, however, is the extent to which working online, and developing our online offer and resources, has substantially increased the reach and possibility for participation for our Collective Leadership work.

One recent example of this was a message that came in to us from US-based Professor Joe Raelin in June this year, mentioning his interest in our work on Collective Leadership. He shared some provocation essays that he had been working on around the theme of Collective Leadership and was interested in exploring possible connections. You can find these essays in our resources and publications.

Many colleagues may be very familiar with Joe Raelin’s work and publications, and some of his writing has been influential in our thinking on Collective Leadership, such as our New Territories Research Paper. It was very heartening for Joe to have made contact with us and to have the opportunity to work together with a wider, global academic community around Leadership as Practice and how this relates to Collective Leadership.

From this initial contact we opened up a fuller conversation, exploring areas of shared interest in our work and opportunities for us to work together. This manifested in an initial gathering in September from the Leadership as Practice and Collective Leadership communities, exploring what we could learn from each other. 

This conversation seemed to go well, attracting active participation and engagement from both communities from across the world, and developing a growing appetite for further work together. In particular there was an interest in an exploration of the unique possibilities in our joint work around the question and emerging theme of:  Collective Leadership and Leadership as PracticeHow Can We Raise Each Other Up?

Since then we have been working with Joe Raelin to plan two “Colloquium” events in January to develop this theme.  We are also creating opportunities for further connections in our work by inviting all participants to undertake a virtual Dialogue Walk together, sharing more deeply around some key questions, listening to one another and developing relational connections.  

Over the coming weeks we will be seeking stories from both communities that help to illustrate our practice and which will feature as part of the Colloquium events.

We are excited now to open up for expressions of interest from our Collective Leadership Community for the Colloquium events in January. The Colloquium events are aimed at colleagues who have prior knowledge and experience of Collective Leadership work and promise to be a great opportunity to share stories from our work, engage around key questions, further our connections and explore future possibilities, and all of this offered in ways that push the boundaries of how we work together online.

If you are familiar with collective leadership theory and work, you can express an interest in being a participant by using the contact form.

The Colloquium events will be held via Zoom in two parts to accommodate time zone differences.  The first will be held on Thursday 21 January, from 4:00 PM to 6.00 PM GMT in the UK.  The second, which is designed especially to attract colleagues from New Zealand and Australia and those from Europe who could not make the first session, will be held on Thursday 28 January, from 8:00 AM to 10.00 AM GMT in the UK (7:00 PM in Sydney and 9:00 PM in Auckland). 

Janet Whitley

11 November 2020

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