Collective leadership is still an emerging field, so there is not one,common definition. It is, however, about embracing and marshalling human, cultural and technological resources in ways that enable local people to work together to improve their communities for the collective wellbeing.
Collective leadership becomes possible when the members of a group, motivated by a common purpose, begin to build relationships with each other that are genuinely respectful enough to allow them to co-construct their shared purpose and work. This is about expanding from the solo perspective of “I” to include the “We.” Having a shared purpose, vision and passion enables people to understand each other across their differences, and to build toward a common goal. It taps into their shared love of a common place in order to mobilize the wisdom of the group into collective action.
The collective leadership process begins with a shared dream that forms the heart of a group of passionate individuals with diverse skills. As relationships are formed around a shared purpose, the group creates a common awareness of challenges and develops ownership of creating new approaches/solutions. This type of leadership engages communities in activities that can effect sustained and systemic change. It connects those who are often seen as “outside” of an institution with those who are on the “inside.”