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Strengthen Collective Leadership Capacity: James MacGregor Burns, often considered the father of the leadership development field and author of the seminal leadership book Leadership , was asked in a recent interview about the next frontier for the field of leadership. Without hesitation he answered, “We need to better understand leadership as a collective process.” There is a growing recognition that individual leaders need to be trained to work more effectively to unleash the collective leadership capacity of a group; and to better understand how diverse groups, especially those representing multiple organizations and stakeholders, identify shared purpose and vision and create capacity for coordinated action. Some programs have expressed concern that the selection and recognition of individuals may actually undermine the collective process and diminish the work of teams who share responsibility for achievements.

Latest Update:

  • Check out the notes from our Collective Leadership session at GEO 2010 featuring Dale Nienow, Center for Ethical Leadership; Barbara Squires, Annie E. Casey Foundation; Miho Kim, DataCenter and Deborah Meehan, Leadership Learning Community.

  • LLC's Executive Director, Deborah Meehan, participated as a guest on the radio show CLEonair on Tuesday, June 1. She talked about examples of collective leadership - check out the recording here!


Books and Articles


  • Kellogg Leadership for Community Change. Publications on collective leadership are available at this link.

Research Projects

  • Illuminating the Blind Spot: Leadership in the Context of Emerging Worlds. W. Brian Arthur, Jonathan Day, Joseph Jaworski, Michael Jung, Ikujiro Nonaka, C. Otto Scharmer, Peter M. Senge held a series of conversations and conducted dialogue-interviews with thought leaders on knowledge and leadership in 1999-2000. This paper summarizes what they learned about individual and collective leadership.


  • Center for Ethical Leadership Lead intermediary for the KLCC initiative, and a pioneer in cultivating collective leadership.
  • Collective Leadership Framework Activities -- A toolkit of good resources...you can also add your own.
  • Harvesting Wisdom from Convenings
  • LLC Funders and Evaluation Circle Meeting on Collective Leadership in January 2007.
    • A list of attributes of collective leadership
    • A set of indicators for 8 different elements of collective leadership
    • Promising approaches, tools, and resources for evaluating collective leadership
    • Co-Leadership Assessment Framework developed by Barry Kibel, SEED-NY for organizations to use to assess their current collective leadership capacity
    • Notes from the Evaluation Learning Circle Breakout Group

Meetings and Events

  1. International Leadership Association Session: The Future of Leadership Development: Collective Leadership (October 2010)
  2. Alliance for Non Profit Management Session: Shared Leadership: Why it Matters and How to Help Nonprofits Get There (October 2010)
  3. GEO Collective Leadership Session (May 2010)
  4. Bay Area Collective Leadership Learning Circle (October 2009)
  5. KLCC and CEL meeting (March 2008)

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