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Leadership Development Working Group/Updates

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This page contains the working group’s meeting notes and any other news or updates.

June 2023 Group meeting dates
  • June 1
  • June 8
  • June 15
  • June 22
  • June 29

June has been an eventful month! The working group closed the community feedback period about the Leadership Development Plan (LDP), analyzed the results, and incorporated the input into the resource. Group members also discussed the future of implementation and of the working group itself. They also published a summary of feedback and next steps.

The working group was meant to convene for a 1-year term to work on 3 goals: 1) draft a definition of leadership, 2) draft a leadership development plan, and 3) support the implementation of the leadership development plan. Now that the 1-year term is reaching an end, they have decided to move forward with the implementation of the LDP in a more decentralized, localized manner. The working group of 15 members will conclude its work by the end of June 2023, and a smaller group of members within LDWG who are interested and able to continue will stay until September 2023. This subgroup will spend its time determining potential implementation steps and encouraging the use of the Leadership Development Plan. Several working group members will also attend Wikimania to host sessions and connect with community members about leadership development.

To commemorate the year of work, full of collaboration and laughter, the working group spent their last meeting altogether appreciating each other!

About 16 people took part in some video-conference meeting.

May 2023 Group meeting dates
  • May 4
  • May 11
  • May 18
  • May 25

In May, the working group published the draft Leadership Development Plan and invited community feedback! The Leadership Development Plan contains three sections:

Community members can read the summary for a quicker overview or go directly to the resource to access it in full.

Ongoing work

After the feedback period closed on May 28, working group members began synthesizing the input and improving the draft based on the feedback collected. They plan to publish an updated version of the Leadership Development Plan. The working group is also discussing next steps regarding the implementation of the plan. More to come soon!

April 2023 Group meeting dates
  • April 6
  • April 13
  • April 20
  • April 27

In April, the working group completed drafting the Leadership Development Plan. Since drafts were written in subgroups, there was remaining work to refine and connect the separate drafts. To complete this work efficiently, group members solicited the support of WMF’s Community Development team. Group members also spent April looking ahead into the future. With their 1-year term concluding in June, they discussed the implementation of the Leadership Development Plan and other future possibilities. Group members were excited about the possibilities for putting leadership development into practice.

In order to prevent burnout and allow for strategic thinking, the working group decided to have the Community Development team help unify and polish their separate drafts. At the end of April, the unified draft was “returned” to the working group for final review and agreement.

Ongoing work

The working group members will review and finalize the Leadership Development Plan before publishing it for community feedback. The first weeks of May will be spent finalizing the Plan and preparing for the community review period.

March 2023 Group meeting dates
  • March 2
  • March 9
  • March 16
  • March 23
  • March 30

In March, the working group continued writing the Leadership Development Plan. This included many discussions, online research, revisions, and feedback. Drafting a resource – especially online and internationally – is no small task! The working group is in the middle of the writing process.

March has also been a busy month for several members of the group due to other commitments and occasions like the start of Ramadan. This has given the group an opportunity to openly and honestly discuss their working dynamics, accountabilities, and progress. The visual below captures the working group’s journey so far (also available in Russian and Spanish).

Leadership Development Working Group Map Journey English

Fun fact: birds flocking together is a beautiful analogy for collective leadership. Birds flocking remind us that we are stronger together. Inspired, the Leadership Development Working Group adopted the imagery of birds flocking together for their logo.

Ongoing work

The drafting work continues!

February 2023 Group meeting dates
  • February 2
  • February 9
  • February 16
  • February 23

In February, the group continued working on the Leadership Development Plan. They closed a research period at the beginning of the month and spent February analyzing and discussing the findings from the survey data. In addition, the working group members met weekly in subgroups to work on their respective sections of the Leadership Development Plan. Group 1 is documenting various leadership roles and skills present in our movement, with the intention to help community members identify themselves and their areas of leadership growth within the Wikimedia ecosystem. Group 2 is outlining recommended steps to build a leadership development program, with the intent that this resource helps community trainers, facilitators, and mentors create effective leadership development initiatives. Group 3 is focusing on offering perspective and guidance on relevant leadership topics (e.g. toxic leadership, burnout, and equity). Finally, Group 4 is looking ahead and holistically, proposing possible next steps for the implementation of the Plan.

The working group also had the opportunity to share updates with community members at two community calls: first at the Community Development Community Call and second at the conversation session with Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees’ "Community Affairs Committee" (CAC). In both sessions, the group received positive responses to the work they have done and the progress they have made in less than a year of working together.

Lastly, the working group saw a membership change with the departure of Rae (US + Canada).

Ongoing work

The group plans to share a draft of the Leadership Development Plan for community review in the upcoming months and is busy working to make this possible. The group continues their weekly check-ins and subgroup work, which includes researching, incorporating feedback, and writing the Leadership Development Plan.

January 2023 Group meeting dates
  • January 5
  • January 12
  • January 19
  • January 26

After a December pause to refresh and re-energize, the working group reconvened in early January and resumed their work on the Leadership Development Plan. This month, the group began a research phase to collect community insights about leadership that will inform the writing of the Plan. The group shared 3 surveys according to 3 audience categories: 1) People who do work related to organizing, coordinating or governance, 2) People who train, facilitate or mentor, and 3) Active and engaged community members who want to improve their leadership. The survey was shared in 6 languages across the 8 regions.

In parallel with research, the group set up subgroups for working on the content of the Leadership Development Plan. The subgroups will allow the members to work efficiently and semi-autonomously. They will continue to convene on a weekly basis as a whole group to share updates, cross-share learnings and exchange feedback.

The group decided that the Leadership Development Plan will be written as a resource kit with helpful suggestions, information, and support for community members interested in improving leadership abilities in themselves and others. Though the topics (and their wording) may change as more progress is made, the group determined 4 themes to frame the Plan:

  • How to build successful leaders
  • How to build a leadership development program
  • Specific aspects of leadership (e.g. burnout, diversity, passing on knowledge)
  • Possibilities for leadership development that require further attention

Ongoing work

The working group continues collecting responses during the research period which closes on February 3. In February, group members will analyze and incorporate the data and begin drafting the Leadership Development Plan.

November 2022 Group meeting dates
  • November 3
  • November 10
  • November 17
  • November 24

In November, the working group published a summary of feedback. This summary highlighted the main themes of the feedback received during the September-October feedback period. The summary also includes revisions made to the leadership definition. You can read the summary of feedback on Diff and Meta-wiki in 13 languages.

In the weekly meetings this month, the group discussed their approach to drafting the Leadership Development Plan. A “prototype” of the Leadership Development Plan was created with the purpose of helping the group align and more concretely imagine the future end-state of the Plan. This prototype included a proposal of the goals, audiences, and content of the Plan. The proposals were discussed and consent decision-making was used to agree on the direction of work.

The group also started planning for a short research phase that will inform the Leadership Development Plan. This included determining the focus of the research, deciding on the outreach approach, and preparing research materials.

Lastly, in the past two months, working group members attended and presented at regional conferences. Donia in the MENA region represented the Leadership Development Working Group at WikiArabia while Goodness and Isaac in the Sub-Saharan Africa region represented the group at WikiIndaba. Anthony from the ESEAP region attended the ESEAP Conference as well. The working group members continue to share their work within their regions and communities. The group plans to participate in upcoming conferences in 2023.

The working group agreed on the need to conduct research before drafting the Leadership Development Plan. The goal of the research phase is to better understand movement leadership needs and experiences. The information collected will be used to draft a Plan that is useful and relevant to those who want to improve leadership abilities in themselves and others.

In the research phase, the working group intends to collect information from various community groups and individuals according to three audience groups: 1) People who do work related to organizing, coordinating or governance, 2) People who train, facilitate or mentor, and 3) Active and engaged community members who want to improve their leadership. The research phase will begin in January 2023.

Finally, the group will take a break to recharge in the month of December and will reconvene in early January 2023.

Ongoing work

The working group continues to discuss the contents of the Plan and prepare for the research phase. They will take a well-deserved break in December after six months of intensive work together.

October 2022 Group meeting dates
  • October 6
  • October 13
  • October 20
  • October 27

In October, the working group closed the feedback period, which invited community members to share their feedback about the draft leadership definition. The group received responses through the surveys (shared in 14 languages), Movement Strategy Forum, talk page, local community calls, and email. A subgroup reviewed each response, clustered common themes, and revised the definition based on the feedback. In general, the feedback was positive, with a majority of responders agreeing with the definition. The group received feedback about certain phrases or sentences of the definition, for example, the words “complex,” “phenomenon,” and “release ideas” were debated. The group also received questions about the usage and context of the definition. Some community members asked, “How can one use this definition?” and, “In what contexts does this definition apply?”

After incorporating feedback, the working group published a revised definition. The revision includes a supplementary text that answers common questions and provides more context to the definition. At the end of October, the working group also hosted two global community calls to share the revised definition, listen to community stories of leadership, and engage in open discussion with community members. The group is celebrating this major milestone! They drafted and published a shared definition of leadership, accomplishing one of their goals.

The group recognizes that the leadership definition is not static. It will continue to evolve and improve with new movement insights and experiences. Acknowledging this, the group will move forward and focus on the next goal: drafting a leadership development plan.

Ongoing work

The working group is writing a summary of feedback and plans to publish this in November. In the following weeks, the group will discuss and prepare for the next phase of work related to the leadership development plan.

September 2022 Group meeting dates
  • September 1
  • September 9
  • September 15
  • September 22
  • September 29

In September, the working group published the draft leadership definition and hosted a feedback period. Read the announcement on Meta-wiki, Diff or Movement Strategy Forum. The purpose of a leadership definition is to develop a movement-wide, shared understanding of leadership. With a shared understanding and vocabulary, the working group believes that there will be better coordination, alignment, and mobilization of local groups and individuals pursuing leadership development initiatives. This definition will also inform the next phase of the working group’s work, which includes drafting a leadership development plan.

Feedback about the draft definition was collected in 13 languages through multiple channels: a survey, Movement Strategy Forum, Meta-wiki talk page, and email. The working group members also collected feedback on an ad hoc basis through local and regional community calls. Feedback was iteratively analyzed, discussed and incorporated into the draft definition and other aspects of the group’s work.

Additionally, the group saw membership transitions: welcoming Anthony (ESEAP representative) and seeing the departure of Imelda (ESEAP representative).

The working group plans to host community calls at the end of October in order to discuss the feedback collected and learn more about existing leadership initiatives in communities. The group recognizes that the definition can evolve after this initial feedback period. Keeping this in mind, they plan to launch the next phase of work during the community calls in October, which includes learning more about the existing leadership initiatives and gaps in the communities. The intention of this next phase of work is to conduct leadership mapping research which will inform the leadership development plan.

Ongoing work

The group is analyzing and incorporating feedback. They plan to host community calls and share a revised definition next month. The group is also preparing for a research period to collect and map leadership initiatives and gaps in the movement.

August 2022 Group meeting dates
  • August 4
  • August 11
  • August 18
  • August 25

In August, the working group reached a major milestone by presenting its work for the first time at Wikimania 2022. The group hosted a session titled "Leadership in Wikimedia" which was a panel discussion involving 6 of its members: Nitesh Gill, Goodness Ignatius, Francesc Fort, Jan Lukas Hobrock, Nada Alfarra, & Rae Adimer. The panelists discussed the purpose and goals of the working group, the importance of leadership, and the progress the group has made. They also discussed opportunities for communities to participate. The session was attended by 60 audience members with several audience questions. See the session recording to learn more.

Additionally, the group saw membership transitions: welcoming Ryuch (ESEAP representative); welcoming back Nada (Middle East & North Africa representative) who took a momentary pause; and seeing the departure of Gnangarra (ESEAP representative), who has shifted to an informal advisory role.

Finally, the group has been finalizing the draft definition and preparing for a call for feedback. This call for feedback will share the leadership definition draft and invite communities to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.

The group has decided that their outreach plan will have a multichannel and multilingual approach in order to reach different audiences during the call for feedback period. They have divided their outreach preparation work into various workstreams, with different group members taking the lead on each in order to distribute and coordinate efficiently.

Ongoing work

The group is preparing for the call for feedback that will launch in September.

July 2022 Group meeting dates
  • July 7
  • July 15
  • July 20
  • July 29

In July, the working group focused on drafting a shared definition of leadership. Once drafted, this definition will be shared with the wider communities for input. To create this draft definition, the group reflected on the experiences and activities of their communities (their linguistic, geographic, project-based, and other communities). They told and analyzed stories to root their proposed definitions in real experiences. The group members discussed different terms associated with leadership, such as vision and empathy. They noticed that terms such as “resilience” and “empowerment” have different meanings and associations depending on one’s context. They reflected on the plurality of the Wikimedia movement -- there isn't just one "Wikimedia way" but rather different ways of working and interacting. In general, the group agreed that the definition of leadership must be considerate of these differences and allow for flexibility. The group went through a multiphase and iterative process to draft, align, and find consensus on a set of definitions. They worked in small groups and pairs to include their different perspectives and specific communities in the definition building. Their goal in this process was to ensure that the definition they drafted considered the nuance and relevance of the words included.

The group is in the last stages of agreeing on a set of definitions. This set of definitions includes a broad definition and additional sub-definitions. The broad definition provides a general description of leadership and the additional sub-definitions detail the particular qualities of leadership. This set of definitions will be shared with communities for input once the draft is finalized.

Ongoing work

The group is finalizing the draft definition and is creating a community outreach plan, which includes how they intend to invite feedback about the definition.

June 2022

Group meeting dates

  • June 3
  • June 10
  • June 17
  • June 24
  • June 30

The 15-member Leadership Development Working Group (or LDWG) met for the first time this month. The group met on a weekly basis and continued their discussions asynchronously through group chat and other working tools. The meetings and group chat were facilitated by the group’s facilitator, Jyotsna, with support from two interpreters, Andy (Spanish) and Anna (Russian), and two staff members from the Community Development team, Cassie and Beverly.

  • This month, the group focused on 3 areas: getting to know one another, setting up how the group works together, and agreeing on the group’s purpose, vision, and goals. The group also began sharing their perspectives and definitions of leadership based on their experiences in the movement. In the first meeting, members of the group shared their excitement to be working together and working on leadership development. There was much appreciation and respect for the diversity of the group and the multilingual support available. Members of the group saw the importance of the different perspectives and communities represented in the group. There was consensus that supporting leadership development is important for the future of the movement.

The working group is using consent-based decision-making to guide their decisions The group also recognizes that decisions are iterative and subject to change based on new information.

  • Group work - group members agreed on the purpose of the synchronous and asynchronous time. Due to timezone differences, accessibility reasons, and busy schedules, group members decided that in order to make progress and give everyone the chance to participate, the asynchronous time will be spent drafting ideas, researching, writing, and thinking on one’s own or in small groups. The synchronous sessions will be spent debating, asking questions, building consensus, making decisions, and building trust and connectedness within the group.
  • Purpose - the group asked the question: why are we here? Members agreed on these answers as their common purpose:
    • "Because we believe that developing leadership leads to the decentralization of power and ensures diverse inclusion."
    • Because we want to make the movement a place where new, small, disadvantaged (emerging) groups and individuals who want to join and grow feel empowered to do so.
      • This includes women and other groups that have historically been underrepresented in leadership in the movement.
  • Vision - the group asked the question: what future do we want to see? Members agreed on this as their common vision:
    • "As a result of the Leadership Development Working Group's work, movement members across the Wikimediaverse have an understanding of leadership and how to nurture it in themselves, in others, and in their communities."
  • Goals - the group discussed and agreed on 3 goals of the working group:
    1. Draft a shared definition of leadership
    2. Create a leadership development plan
    3. Guide the implementation of leadership development

Ongoing work
The group will focus the next weeks on the first goal: drafting a shared definition of leadership.