Week 2 Identity and participative practice in collaborative leadership


This week’s learning is based on the two key dimensions of leadership that inform the course as a whole – identity and participative practice. Identity is a blend of how we think of ourselves and how others think of us – and identity shapes how we approach collaborative leadership. We need to start thinking of ourselves and our work differently, if we are going to be effective in collaborative leadership practice.

This week also introduces the idea of participative practice, rooted in ideas from informal democratic practice. By democratic we do not mean that members of staff vote on issues as they come along for organisations, although such models do exist and can be interesting. Rather, we adopt democracy as an ethos, a way of thinking and practicing that is relational and places a priority on critical reflection, respectful but also conflictual debate. We have to think and act in certain ways in order to be able to practice good collaborative leadership: and it is collaborative leadership that seems particularly suited to tackling wicked problems.

By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • define identity as far as it relates to collaborative leadership;
  • describe identity as enacted through the language and practices used
  • identify the various sources of your identity – as a professional, a civic activists, a family member and organisational partner
  • define participative practice and its significance for leadership work in the voluntary sector
  • describe some of the main aspects of your own identity and practices you value
  • reflect on the kinds of practices that seem to define the organisations you work on behalf of.

1 Identity and participation