What is community leadership?
The great challenges of the present day, such as the climate and health emergency, the transformation of urban centers, conflict management, digital transition, gender equality, youth unemployment, among many others, require a new generation of leaders, new organizational and professional profiles, trained and aware, capable of stimulating forms of collective action, creative processes, networking, and providing answers to the needs of communities precisely from the communities themselves, and from their activation.
Far from being conceived as individual leadership, community leadership is understood by the CHLaYdoscope project as a complex of skills, knowledge, and attitudes that enable those who actively participate within groups, local organizations, work teams, to guide and enhance processes of collective, social, cultural, economic growth. The community leaders accompany on new paths, they do not trace a road; they are not the commander, but the ones who facilitates processes, stimulates new ways of working, who have the common good as a priority.
No confusion then, the leadership we want to talk about in the CHLaYdoscope project has little to do with positions of power within organizations. The community leader also has little to do with social media. Rather, their communities move in the real world and share geographically defined spaces on a daily basis. They are people whose personal qualities and skills are used to co-design and facilitate processes of change, build networks through initiatives of territorial promotion and animation, inclusion and cooperation.
The community leaders that the CHLaYdoscope project is engaging are young people who are active players within their communities, in the world of associations and voluntary work, in creative and social entrepreneurship, in groups and organizations that are active in the world of art and culture. They are young people who have had experiences abroad, who speak several languages, and who are eager to share back this knowledge, and devote themselves to their home territory.
CHLaYdoscope intends to provide these young people with a kit of knowledge and tools to develop important transversal skills and support them in the activation of their communities, in the promotion, implementation and management of concrete initiatives of social, cultural, environmental development.
The CHLaYdoscope project aspires to bring about a new responsible, creative leadership that considers the common good as a priority and is able to tap into, and mobilize, creative resources to design and develop innovative answers to the challenges of the reality around us.
So, what do community leaders do?
The community leaders that the CHLaYdoscope project aims to nurture and grow are young people committed to their communities to drive positive and sustainable changes, to identify problems and opportunities in their local contexts, and imagine solutions that create shared value.
Their task is as exciting as it is challenging; it is to design and implement new collaborative and participative models capable of involving relevant stakeholders, to imagine and devise new responses, to generate resources where they are lacking, and to manage projects that can touch on a wide range of areas, from tourism to social, from culture to employment.
What skills do community leaders need to have?
Community leaders must have technical competences (hard skills) but above all soft skills.
CHLaYdoscope identified a kaleidoscope of 9 competences, which define the profile of Youth Community Leader, and which are the leadership competences needed in today’s world, within organizations, as entrepreneurs or as active members of a community. These competences are embodied in the skills, knowledge and behaviors described below.
The community leaders:
- they are aware of their strengths and try to make the most of them; likewise, they know their weaknesses and work to improve them; they are also fully aware of the potential of their communities
- they can communicate effectively with others and facilitate an open dialogue with and between members of their communities
- they encourage the growth and the ideas of young people
- they provide inspiration
- they stimulate and support change
- they are aware of the importance of continuing to educate themselves throughout life and of supporting their groups learning
- they display intercultural competence ex
- they have creative competence, i.e., the ability to trigger creative group processes and facilitate the design of innovative solutions to increasingly complex challenges
- they can generate resources by networking and promoting processes of participation and change
To prepare young community leaders for all the above, a training package has been designed within CHLaYdoscope; it is a kit of knowledge, methodologies and tools that gathers the legacy and experience of the leaders of the European creative hubs, partners, and promoters of this project.
Over the next few months, from February to April, 60 young people from 5 European countries (Italy, Greece, Slovenia, the Netherlands, and Portugal) will have the opportunity to test this knowledge by participating in 6 international, online live workshops that will lead them to develop the competences and skills described above, and equip them with tools and methods to design, manage and enhance the processes of social, cultural and economic growth within their local territories.
For 15 of them the, there will be the opportunity to continue with an intensive training week in presence, in Portugal, in October 2023.
What will young community leaders learn?
The CHLaYdoscope training course aims to enhance the action of young people in their territories, combining personal commitment with a greater understanding of ‘community dynamics’, based on shared ideas, interests, struggles and values, with a focus on certain elements and key competences:
- Self-awareness, empathy, and emotional intelligence
- Collaboration and development of a shared vision
- Creativity: how to trigger creative processes that lead to explore challenges differently and devise innovative solutions
- Engagement: ability to stay involved and motivated while performing activities and to keep others involved.
- Mobilizing resources: ability to mobilize internal and external resources to translate ideas into concrete actions that bring value to the community
- Effective communication: inspiring and motivating others through effective communication techniques
- Facilitating processes of co-design, change and social innovation
The group of young people will have the opportunity to train with an international team of trainers and mentors working in the world of youth associations and European creative hubs
For more information and to register for the free training course: https://www.chlaydoscope.eu