Tips for Leadership Development

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Leadership development is a collaborative process between yourself and the person you’re developing. As much as possible, be in open, kind conversation about the investment that you’re both putting into their learning. This is the magical and radical work of organizing – at the end of it we get people who are far more effective at addressing injustice around them.

Savor the relationships built from this work!

Here are some steps to embark upon a leadership development journey with someone:

  1. Understand their self-interest. Why is this work important to them? What do they want to accomplish? What do they stand to lose if they fail? Read Getting To A Person’s Why to ways to dig deeper on their interests.
  2. Collaboratively identify a particular way they want to grow. Is this a particular skill? It is a quality of leadership they want to grow around?
  3. Discuss how growth will help them achieve their self-interest. Why should they grow? How will it help them in being more effective in achieving their goals?
  4. Identify leadership development opportunities to practice. What are concrete upcoming moments for them to practice the skill or quality they want to grow around?
    • Start small, provide support, and level up each time. Are they a great phonebanker? Great! Ask them to help co-host the next few phonebanks, then lead a training, and then host on their own. Each week, guide them in taking on a little more responsibility.
  5. For each opportunity, prepare together and debrief together. What are they learning through these experiences? What did they do well? What do they want to do better next time?
  6. Be a mirror and thought-partner. Remember, this is a collaborative process. Share what you’re noticing, give constructive and specific feedback, and be open to feedback yourself.
  7. Celebrate! Take a moment to celebrate wins and successes – learning and growing is hard!


Sarah Turbow
Good Guys at the Barricades 
Presented at the 2020 Sister District Summit