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Join Leadership for a New Era!

Leadership for a New Era, or LNE, is a collaborative research initiative launched by the Leadership Learning Community that focuses on understanding how leadership can become more inclusive, networked and collective. We believe the dominant model that places a strong emphasis on the individual is limiting our ability to positively impact change in our society, so we have joined forces with a diverse group of collaborators, that includes funders, researchers, practitioners and consultants in the leadership development field, to make sense of what it would take to start shifting the current thinking. While we have limited the focus of our exploration to four main areas: Leadership and Race, Leadership and Networks, Collective Leadership and Leadership Across Difference, we anticipate many other areas will emerge and welcome our contributors to take the lead in exploring them.

We encourage all members of the Leadership Learning Community to participate in Leadership for a New Era and help us promote a stronger leadership model.  There are multiple ways to engage with this initiative, from adding content and sharing resources, to helping synthesize and write the publications.  To participate, please visit the LNE website and create your free account – it only takes a couple of seconds.  Once you join the LNE website, you can start interacting with other collaborators and sharing your resources!  Please contact us if you have any questions about this collaborative research initiative.


New Report: Leadership and Networks: New Ways of Developing Leadership in a Highly Connected World

As part of the Leadership for a New Era (LNE) initiative, the Leadership Learning Community has partnered with thought leaders in the network development and leadership development fields to develop the cutting edge report Leadership and Networks: New Ways of Developing Leadership in a Highly Connected World. This publication is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.


This report is written for those who run and fund leadership programs that develop and support leadership for social change. It shares many examples of how leaders using network strategies are increasing the impact of social change work, such as the Barr Fellowship Network and Our goal is to inspire and help hundreds of leadership programs to question their assumptions about the traditional leadership models and retool their approaches in ways that will enable them to better prepare those in leadership with the mindset and skills they will need to more fully leverage network strategies. Specifically, the report addresses the following questions:

  • Why do network strategies deserve our attention?
  • Why do we need a new leadership mindset?
  • What are the core principles of leading with a network mindset?
  • What leadership development strategies support a network mindset and skills?


New Report: A Guide for Strengthening the Collective Impact of Your Leadership Development Work

As part of the Leadership for a New Era (LNE) initiative – a collaborative research initiative that seeks to promote more inclusive, networked and collective leadership models – the Leadership Learning Community (LLC) has generated a series of “How To” guides for leadership program staff. The guides are supported by funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The guides can be read separately or as an interconnected series. They also offer recommendations on these important topics:
• How to use action learning to achieve your results
• How to recruit to maximize the value of your cohort 
• How to cultivate and activate your network 

Together these guides demonstrate the value of aiming for big results that lead to social change.   Such results move beyond the singular goal of producing stronger leaders to actually having a lasting impact on social change issues such as improved economic security for low-income families or a reduction in carbon emissions.  The change you wish to see should guide and influence important elements of your leadership program, such as targeted recruitment, thinking about your graduate network, and how to best support participants in achieving social change outcomes.  

First Report of Leadership for a New Era Series:
How to Develop and Support Leadership that Contributes to Racial Justice

Leadership programs can help solve racial inequalities in access to education, healthcare, income and wealth. But according to a new report released by the Leadership Learning Community and other thought leaders in the leadership development and racial equity fields, many current approaches to leadership development actually maintain and promote racial inequalities. This is the first report to analyze the link between major philanthropy investments in the racial equity and leadership development fields.

The publication is co-authored by: Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center (ARC); Sally Leiderman, Center for Assessment and Policy Development (CAPD); Deborah Meehan, Leadership Learning Community (LLC); Elissa Perry, Think.Do.Repeat.; Maggie Potapchuk, MP Associates; Professor john a. powell, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity; and Hanh Cao Yu, Ph.D., Social Policy Research Associates (SPR).


A New Leadership Mindset for Scaling Social Change

Over the past 50 years our thinking about leadership, whether in communities or board rooms, has been heavily influenced by heroic models of leadership. We traditionally think of leadership as the skills, qualities and behavior of an individual who exerts influence over others to take action or achieves a goal using their position and authority. At the Leadership Learning Community we believe this way of thinking about leadership is only one part of the leadership story -- one that does not fully recognize leadership as a process grounded in relationships that are fluid, dynamic, non-directive and non-unilateral. In 2009 we launched Leadership for a New Era (LNE), a collaborative research initiative, to understand leadership more fully. Understanding leadership as a process requires us to think very differently about how change occurs and how we work with others. We will never mobilize leadership at the scale needed for significant progress on social change or any other complex issue without expanding our thinking about what leadership is, how it works and how we can support it. Download the entire document!