Convening leadership entails uniting various stakeholders to work together toward solving global and societal issues. Through my research, I have identified five best practices of convening leadership that, when applied by a convenor, can help maintain focus, productivity, and impact, ultimately resulting in greater success in achieving the goals and objectives of collaborative stakeholders. The initial principle emphasizes the importance of a convenor having self-awareness and an understanding of how their core attitudes, beliefs, and values can influence the outcome of the collaboration.
Attitudes. A convening leader’s attitude towards collaboration, stakeholders, and the project itself can significantly impact the success of a collaborative effort. Attitudes are generally defined as an individual’s overall evaluation of a particular object or situation and are shaped by past experiences, education, culture, and social environment and can be positive or negative. A positive attitude towards collaboration can create a more engaging environment for stakeholders and promote teamwork, while a negative attitude can hinder the effort. Moreover, a leader’s attitude towards stakeholders can impact their level of engagement and commitment. Valuing and respecting stakeholders’ input can foster collaboration and trust, while dismissing their contributions can create a toxic or disengaging environment. In the context of convening leadership, a leader’s attitude towards collaboration, stakeholders, and the project itself can impact the engagement and commitment of participants. Thus, a convening leader should have a positive attitude towards collaboration and value the input of stakeholders to promote a successful collaborative effort.
Beliefs. Beliefs shape a leader’s perspective on collaboration and decision-making, driven by cultural, religious, or philosophical influences. Leaders who value collaboration and involve stakeholders in decision-making build trust and commitment, fostering a positive environment. Conversely, leaders lacking such beliefs may fail to engage participants. Beliefs impact the effectiveness of a collaborative effort, with leaders prioritizing input from stakeholders and encouraging participation more likely to succeed. A leader’s beliefs about trust also influence their approach, with those prioritizing trust-building activities and communication strategies fostering transparency and openness, eliciting stakeholder engagement and commitment. Leaders lacking such beliefs may overlook stakeholder input, leading to disengagement. Therefore, leaders must be aware of their beliefs and their impact on collaborative efforts.
Values. Values guide a person’s behavior and decision-making and can be shaped by personal experiences, culture, education, family upbringing, and moral or ethical beliefs. A leader’s values, such as integrity or social justice, can significantly influence the project’s objectives, decision-making approach, and stakeholder engagement. For example, a leader who values transparency and collaboration may prioritize trust-building activities and involve stakeholders in decision-making. In contrast, a leader who does not value transparency may hinder stakeholder engagement. A leader’s values can also impact the project’s direction and focus, with economic growth or social justice as potential priorities. A leader’s values can influence their approach to decision-making, with collaboration or individualism as possible approaches. Therefore, a leader aware of their values can create a more inclusive and productive environment for stakeholders.
A best practice for a convening leader is to examine their attitudes, beliefs, and values, which require self-reflection and introspection. Here are some steps that can help:
- Identify your core values: Start by identifying your core values, the principles that guide your decisions and actions. Reflect on what is important to you and what motivates you.
- Examine your beliefs: Once you have identified your core values, examine your beliefs about various issues, including social, political, ethical, and moral issues. Ask yourself why you hold these beliefs and whether they align with your values.
- Analyze your attitudes: Evaluate your attitudes towards different people, situations, and events. Determine whether your attitudes are positive, negative, or neutral and how they impact your behavior and decision-making.
- Seek feedback: Seek feedback from colleagues, friends, and family members. Ask them about their perception of your attitudes, beliefs, and values. The feedback can provide valuable insights and perspectives you may have overlooked.
- Reflect on your experiences: Reflect on past experiences, including successes and failures, and how they have influenced your attitudes, beliefs, and values.
- Keep an open mind: Finally, keep an open mind and be willing to challenge your assumptions and beliefs. In doing so, you can grow and evolve as a person and leader.
In summary, by regularly evaluating attitudes, beliefs, and values, a convenor can increase self-awareness and become a more effective and inclusive leader. A leader who is self-aware of their attitudes, beliefs, and values can leverage them to create a more positive, productive, and impactful environment for stakeholders and ultimately lead to success in achieving the goals and objectives of the collaborative stakeholders. In the next column, we will discuss the second principle of effective convenors in more detail, which values the development of collaborative efforts while accounting for stakeholder diversity and inclusion across socio-economic status, customs, languages, influential capacity, and resource disparities because community matters.
Dr. Patricia A. Clary is a syndicated columnist who consults with nonprofit and business sector partnerships that promote strategic community impact agendas to solve complex societal issues through governance, collaboration, and convening leadership. Connect with Dr. Clary at patriciaclary.com, LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/pat-clary/, Facebook PatriciaAClaryPhD, or [email protected]. ©2023 All Rights Reserved.