The Leadership Development Plan is a practical resource for emerging and existing leaders across the Wikimedia movement who want to develop themselves and others. In response to the Movement Strategy recommendation “Invest in Skills and Leadership Development,” community members convened in 2022-2023 as the Leadership Development Working Group (LDWG), a global group of 15 community members with different roles and experiences in the movement. Through a year of collaboration and community consultation, LDWG published a leadership definition and now the Leadership Development Plan.
The Leadership Development Plan consists of tools, concepts and recommendations. Our goal was to create a resource that is easy to use, practical and flexible. It contains three sections that invite emerging and existing leaders to reflect on the leadership roles and skills in the movement, navigate leadership situations, and implement leadership development initiatives in their communities. By engaging with this resource, we hope you feel better equipped to foster leadership in the Wikimedia movement, both in yourselves and others. It is a starting point and initial effort to bring alignment and direction to leadership development. Similar to other work in the Wikimedia movement, view it as a work-in-progress. We welcome you to adapt and improve it for your own context.
The Leadership Development Working Group
Effective leadership can foster the health, growth, and sustainability of our many communities. Effective leaders, whether they be individuals or groups, bring people together for a common mission, help people feel safe and a sense of belonging, and support those around them. Leadership already exists in the Wikimedia movement, yet there is little attention given to identifying and developing it. Often newcomers and existing community members alike are uncertain about what to do or where to go for support. The purpose of this resource is to surface, encourage and grow effective leadership.
We envision a movement where newcomers feel welcome and equipped to begin their Wikimedia journeys; community members feel supported during challenging situations; collaborations are productive and positive; and editors feel motivated to continue contributing over the long term. Effective leadership has the potential to invite newcomers, improve community stability, and foster healthy collaborations and supportive community environments.
Who is this for
Anyone in the Wikimedia movement interested in leadership development is invited to engage with this resource. You may be a newcomer interested in learning about leadership roles, a new leader eager to grow their abilities, an existing leader who wants to continue developing or pass on their knowledge, a facilitator or trainer wanting to help others develop leadership skills, or just someone curious about what the LDWG created.
A few considerations to keep in mind when reading this resource:
- Community-informed. This resource was written by LDWG members over several months, with the help of community input. We gathered insights from community members through feedback and research periods, with the intention of writing a resource that addresses, as best as possible, global community interests and needs.
- Relevance and contextuality. A global resource such as this one is not going to be perfectly relevant to you. As a group of 15 community members from different regions and communities, we united our own individual experiences and decided to share leadership concepts and tools that we believe can be relevant across Wikimedia communities. We expect and welcome you to create more contextually-relevant materials based on this starting point.
- An ongoing effort. Similar to other Wikimedia initiatives, this resource is a collective and continuous effort that improves and changes with your contribution. If there are materials or information that you have found helpful in your leadership journey, please share them so that we can all benefit!
Start Here: How to Use This Resource
This practical guide is written for active reading and interaction. You will get the most out of it by reading it with curiosity and willingness to use the suggested materials.
Section 1 | Understanding Leadership Roles & Skills
This section provides an overview of leadership in the Wikimedia movement. It shares the definition of leadership, a framework to view leadership roles and skills, and a leadership skills self-assessment. How can you use it? Here are a few suggestions:
- Orientation. You’re new to the movement or curious about leadership and want to know about leadership possibilities in the movement. Use this to orient yourself to possible roles or ways to contribute to Wikimedia
- Learn together. You are part of an affiliate, informal group or project group. Bring this resource to your group or team to discuss and learn together.
- Conversation starter. You want to have conversations in your community about leadership, perhaps to improve current dynamics or work culture. You can use the information here as conversation prompts.
- Reflection. You have been an active community member and want to improve your working relationships or the ways you lead people and projects. You can use this information to reflect on your personal development as a leader.
- Inspiration. You are a mentor. Use this with your mentees to clarify their leadership aspirations and skills.
This section shares a few common situations and themes experienced by leaders. It shares overviews and practical suggestions to navigate the situations. How can you use it? Here are a few suggestions:
- Self-development. You are a new leader who anticipates experiencing some of these situations in the future and wants to prepare; or you are an existing leader who has experienced these situations in the past and wants to improve. Use the tools to reflect and plan for future scenarios.
- Team development. You work with a group, maybe through your affiliate, committee, or project. You can create group activities based on the situations presented to help your team improve collaboration and communication.
- Build upon. You are a skills trainer, mentor or facilitator and are looking to support people in leadership situations. Re-use the materials and exercises with the people you support.
- Inspiration. You are a leader experiencing various leadership situations like the ones described. View the section as inspiration to notice the leadership themes and encounters in your life. Document your learnings and tools, share them with your community, and contribute to this Leadership Development Plan resource.
Section 3 | Starting a Leadership Development Initiative
This section presents a step-by-step guide to creating a leadership development initiative. It includes templates and tools to help you define, develop and deliver an initiative. How can you use it? Here are a few suggestions:
- Implementation. You are a skills trainer, facilitator, or organizer and want to develop leadership skills in volunteers. Use this to help you create a leadership development initiative.
- Refinement. You are already delivering leadership development initiatives. Use this to systematize your practice and document how you’ve applied a similar (or different!) approach to successfully enable leadership development in your community.