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Leadership and Networks (Overview and Resources)This is a featured page

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The Leadership and Networks collaborative research project, launched by the Leadership Learning Community in 2009, seeks to influence how leadership is cultivated and supported in the social sector; and to more effectively support efforts to mobilize collective action across sectors to address more systemically complex social and environmental issues. For more information about this project please contact Claire Reinelt.

  • Purpose: To improve the capacity to catalyze, develop and support leadership networks in the social sector.
  • Rationale: Broadening our approach to leadership development from a focus on leader characteristics and behavior to include how leadership emerges through relationships, communities, and networks opens up new opportunities for understanding and promoting leadership that can address complex, systemic challenges with new thinking and solutions.
  • Audience: Leadership development programs and foundations investing in leadership that are currently supporting individuals, groups and/or networks.
  • Products: Short (12 page) publication outlining the main insights from our research, a competency assessment tool to help leadership programs and foundations investing in leadership implement some of the recommendations around leadership and networks, and an online resource directory featuring key documents and tools (see resource directory below).


Synthesis Framework 7/18
Synthesis 6/10


Instructions: To add links, please find the right content type category below and enter the name of the resource, the URL and a brief description. To upload files please select the "add attachment" option under "more tools". Please keep in mind that this website has the capacity to store up to 40 attachments so we encourage users to post files as links (vs. attachments) when possible. If the file is not currently online, please see the FAQ section for additional instructions. For more information check out the Leadership for a New Era user guide!

Check out the Leadership and Networks Zotero Library!


  • Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives
  • Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, Forces for Good: The Six Practices of High Impact Nonprofits
  • Allison Fine, Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age
  • Alison Gilchrist, The Well-Connected Community: A Network Approach to Community Development
  • Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
  • Brafman, O., 2006. The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, New York: Portfolio.
  • Raelin, Joseph, Creating Leaderful Organizations
  • Siegel, D. (2010). Organizing for Social Partnership: Higher Education in Cross-Sector collaboration. NY, NY: Routledge.
  • Beth Kanter and Alison Fine, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change
  • Li, C., 2010. Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead 1st ed., Jossey-Bass.
Practice Guides
  • Patti Anklam, Net Work: A Practical Guide to Creating and Sustaining Networks at Work and in the World
  • Vandeventer, Paul and Myrna Mandell, Networks that Work: A Practitioner's Guide to Managing Networked Action
  • Network for Good, Measure Everything: Is Your Nonprofit Facebook Page Worth It? (Analytics and Measurement Techniques)

  • Bruce Hoppe and Claire Reinelt, Social Network Analysis and the Evaluation of Leadership Networks . This paper offers a framework for conceptualizing different types of leadership networks and uses case examples to identify outcomes typically associated with each type of network. One challenge for the field of leadership development has been how to evaluate leadership networks. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a promising evaluation approach that uses mathematics and visualization to represent the structure of relationships between people, organizations, goals, interests, and other entities within a larger system. Core social network concepts are introduced and explained to illuminate the value of SNA as an evaluation and capacity-building tool.
  • Valdis Krebs and June Holley, Building Sustainable Communities through Network Building
  • Skye Bender-deMoll, Potential Human Rights Uses of Network Analysis and Mapping
  • Bill Traynor, Vertigo and the Intentional Inhabitant: Leadership in a Connected World
  • Bill Traynor, Building Community in Place
  • Monitor Institute, Working Wikily 2.0: Social Change with a Network Mindset
  • Lisa Weinberg, Leadership Development for Community Action: An Ethnographic Inquiry: Northwest Federation of Community Organizations
  • Jennifer Dodge, Sonia Ospina and Roy Sparrow, Making Partnership a Habit: Margie McHugh and the New York Immigration Coalition
  • Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant, "The Six Practice of High Impact Non Profits" from their book, Forces for Good (2008). The article is an excerpt from the book, as published in Fast Company magazine, and promotes "nurturing nonprofit networks" and "sharing leadership" as effective practices.
  • Hygeia's Constellation: The thesis publication by Bobby Milstein, coordinator of the Syndemics Prevention Network at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Syndemics takes a critical perspective in looking at the interaction between disease, social conditions and navigating health futures.
  • Heather Gowdy, Alex Hildebrand, David La Piana, Melissa Mendes Campos: Convergence: How Five Trends will Reshape the Social Sector (2009)
  • Wilfred H. Drath, Cynthia D. McCauley, Charles J. Palus, Ellen Van Velsor, Patricia M. G. O’Connor, John B. McGuire:
    Direction, Alignment, Commitment: Toward a More Integrative Ontology of Leadership (2008)
  • Otto Scharmer, Leadership development is not about filling a gap but about igniting a field of inspired connection and action, October 2009.
  • Ross Wirth, Transformative Networking (attached below). This is a work in progress concept paper on building leader networks to bring about emergent organizational and community change.
  • Peggy Holman. From Chaos to Coherence: The Emergence of Inspired Organizations and Enlightened Communities (see below).
  • Yannick Rumpala, “Knowledge and praxis of networks as a political project,” Twenty-First Century Society: Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences 4, no. 3 (2009): 277.
  • Steve Waddell, “A New Approach to Network Leadership,” Networking Action, May 4, 2010, http://blog.networkingaction.net/?p=517.
  • McLeod Grant, H. & Fulton, K., 2010. Monitor Institute: KaBOOM! Case Study, Monitor Institute.
  • Claire Reinelt, Leadership and the Networked Nonprofit, July 28, 2010.
  • John McGuire, Charles Palus et al., Transforming your Organization -- A white paper that provides a framework for transforming an organization's leadership culture from a development approach that focuses on the individual heroic leader to the "unfolding, emergent, realization of leadership as a collective activity."


  • Software and Community in the Early 21st Century. A keynote by Eben Moglen from the Software Freedom Law Center that provides a compelling and moving story about "the weaving of open source into the century long struggle for freedom, dignity and human rights."
  • Shirky, C., 2005. Clay Shirky on institutions vs. collaboration. Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_collaboration.html.


  • Social Networks for Social Change. A well-done powerpoint by the Monitor Institute (Noah Flowers, Diana Scearce and Heather McLeod Grant) on Network Basics, Understanding Your Network, Characteristics of Healthy Networks, On-Line Networks and Social Media, and Network Leadership and Mindset.
  • International Seminar on Network Theory: Network Multidimensionality in the Digital Age; featuring Noshir Contractor, Manuel Castells, and others; includes conference videos and written summary: http://ascnetworksnetwork.org/
  • Collaborating Via Artifacts : Understanding the Real Difference Between Online and Face-to-Face Collaboration (by Eugene Eric Kim)
  • Social Media Network Analysis with NodeXL, Marc Smith, 2009


  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has a Organizational and Network Effectiveness Wiki with lots of valuable resources on leadership and coaching, organizational and network assessment, strategic planning and mergers and such.
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been fostering and supporting social networks in its neighborhood, community, and leadership initiatives. They have overseen the publication series of five reports that looks at the definitions, research, power, practices, and insights relating the impact of social networks on family strengthening and community change as part of their Making Connections Initiative. These reports demonstrate that positive social networks is a key ingredient to creating authentic, sustainable change in struggling neighborhoods among other important outcomes.
  • The Barr Foundation convened a group of experts and facilitated a study on the growing use of network strategies by nonprofit organizations, social entrepreneurs, and foundations. The report Network Power for Philanthropy and Nonprofits includes their key findings.
  • Monitor Institute and the Packard Foundation partnered on a two year inquiry on Philanthropy and Networks Exploration (PNE) into how foundations can tap and support the power of networks.
  • The California Endowment has launched a 10-year initiative: the Building Health Communities: California Living 2.0 I in 14 California communities. A CalConnect Social Networking Site has been created so that community members, policymakers and health experts throughout the state can share experiences and information

Research projects

  • Lawrence CommunityWorks -- a community network case study

Capacity-building and assessment tools

  • Skye Bender-deMoll, Potential Human Rights Uses of Network Analysis and Mapping This paper is one of the clearest statements about how to use network approaches to have an impact on policy and transform a field of practice (e.g., human rights). Very practical tools are described and specific projects are suggested. The paper was prepared for the Science and Human Rights Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Peter Plastrik and Madeline Taylor, Net Gains: A Handbook for Network Builders Seeking Social Change. The Handbook starts with the point of view that networks provide social-change agents with a fundamentally distinct and remarkably promising “organizing principle” to use to achieve ambitious goals. The handbook provides practical advice based on the experiences of network builders, case studies of networks small and large, local and international, and emerging scientific knowledge about “connectivity.”
  • Peter Plastrik and Madeline Taylor, Network Health Scorecard focuses on key aspects of any network: purpose, performance, operations, and capacity. It's designed for group use--network members answer each question and then discuss their answers--or on your own.
  • June Holley, Network Weaver Checklist.
  • The Monitor Institute: Network Effectiveness - Diagnostic and Development Tool
Blogs with good resources on networks
  • The Monitor Institute -- Working Wikily: Making Sense of Networks and Social Change -- is a blog designed to provide practitioners in the social sector with a filter for the events that are pushing the field towards a more networked form of work and a perspective on how and why those events are unfolding. A number of good resources on network effectiveness.
    • Network Resources: Leadership
  • Networks, Complexity and Relatedness -- A blog by Patti Anklam
  • Interaction Institute for Social Change Network Blog
    • A recent post by Curtis Ogden Leadership for Our Times describes three leadership approaches: adaptive leadership, facilitative leadership and network leadership; and the interconnections between them.
  • Connectedness -- A blog by Bruce Hoppe
    • A recent post Influence and Social Capital of 21st Century Leaders describes different network leadership strategies.
  • Claire Reinelt's blog at the Leadership Learning Community site
  • Network Weaving -- A blog by June Holley
  • Network Weaver website -- resources by June Holley
  • The Network Thinker -- A blog by Valdis Krebs
  • Impact Alliance -- Network Strengthening Resources
  • Networking Action by Steve Waddell
  • Putman, K., 2010. 20 Social Media Resources for Nonprofits. Philanthropy411 Blog. Available at: https://philanthropy411.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/20-social-media-resources-for-nonprofits/.
  • Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy -- A three minute video that demonstrates the role of leadership and followership in creating a movement, and draws out lessons learned for movement-building.
  • Check out a bibliography that Bruce Hoppe and Claire Reinelt created on social networks and leadership. You can search the bibliography by topic categories provided on the right-hand side of the page.
  • Network Building for Social Change-- A resource list put together by the Interaction Institute for Social Change
  • Steve Waddell, a national and international expert on global networks and social change has more than twenty years expertise as a researcher, practitioner and facilitator of global, regional and national networks. Check out his lengthy bibliography on his website Networking Action
  • Resources for Connected Nonprofit Leadership: A Collection of Research. This is a collection of readings put together by Beth Beard and Janice Epstein for Impact Brokers. It includes three main sections: Networks and Leadership, Social Capital and Networks, and Social Capital and Those that Nonprofits Serve.
  • Building Networks for Learning -- The first articles look generically at how to build and map networks, the next series of papers address different aspects of working together - team building, communities of practice and learning groups, and the last set of links provides resources on institutional approaches for working across groups and organisations, including partnerships and boundary organisations.
Wikis and Learning Communities
  • Knowledge Sharing Toolkit: wiki featuring information on knowledge sharing practices.
  • Network Weaver Wiki
  • Leadership and Networks Delicious Feed
  • The Change Alliance Using Stakeholder Processes and Complexity Thinking in Governing for Sustainability and Social Justice
  • Network Effectiveness Resources (David and Lucile Packard Foundation)
  • Working Wikily Wiki: Project space for the Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute Emerging Network Practices project.

Case Studies

  • Network Development and Catalyzing Collaborative Action on Poverty and Injustice (Synergos Institute)

Meetings and Events

  • NYC Leadership and Networks Learning Circle at the Surdna Foundation (July 18, 2011)
  • Network of Network Funders Webinar, Co-hosted by the Leadership Learning Community and the Monitor Institute (December 2010)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Please credit the author(s) and link back to this website.

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creinelt A new theory of leadership 6 Jul 29 2010, 1:54 AM EDT by olivia751
Thread started: Aug 31 2009, 12:18 PM EDT  Watch
Do we need a new theory of leadership that goes beyond an understanding of leadership as an influence relationship between leaders and followers? How do we explain how leadership emerges in networks and communities? What resources are you finding helpful in broadening and integrating your understanding of leadership? I recently read an article by Bill Drath and his colleagues at the Center for Creative Leadership that I would highly recommend if you are interested in developing a new theory of leadership. Direction, Alignment, Commitment: Toward a More Integrated Ontology of Leadership recently appeared in Leadership Quarterly, Issue 19 (2008). An author's copy is attached below this discussion thread. Drath et al. provide a theory for how leadership emerges through relationships and interactions among peers, where there is no asymmetrical influence relationships. I found his discussion one of the most illuminating I have read, although the language he uses is dense and needs translating to be really helpful to those of us in the field of leadership development. If you do read the paper I'd love to hear your reflections, and also what other resources you have found helpful.
3  out of 3 found this valuable. Do you?    
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nataliallc Network Leadership 0 Feb 19 2010, 1:28 PM EST by nataliallc
Thread started: Feb 19 2010, 1:28 PM EST  Watch
We are looking for examples that talk about the impact of network leadership...please share your ideas!
Do you find this valuable?    
Keyword tags: leadership networks
creinelt Network practices for catalyzing connections and collaborations 1 Sep 23 2009, 1:16 PM EDT by aerindunford
Thread started: Sep 22 2009, 11:40 AM EDT  Watch
I recently attended a leadership network meeting which got me thinking about the following question:

What are promising network practices that enhance the power of face-to-face meetings to catalyze connections and collaborations? Here are some things that I came up with:

• Maximize face-to-face meetings by using online community building prior to the meeting.
• Make the connections between people more visible through network mapping.
• Build deeper bonds of trust across the network through storytelling.
• Actively weave the network by introducing people to one another when you think they might benefit from knowing each other
• Ensure opportunities for serendipity when people can meet informally and discover connections and make new insights
• Mine and document the connections and learning in real time and in post-meeting spaces using wikis, blogs, twitter.
• Create online spaces where people can connect based on interests and passions, geography, action agendas

Any other suggestions? What would you add?

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Adobe Portable Document Format From Chaos to Coherence.pdf (Adobe Portable Document Format - 171k)
posted by creinelt   Mar 22 2010, 9:23 AM EDT
This attachment has no description.
Adobe Portable Document Format ShelterForce Magazine Network Organizing-1.pdf (Adobe Portable Document Format - 182k)
posted by nataliallc   Mar 9 2010, 9:04 PM EST
Network Organizing: A Strategy for Building Community Engagement
Adobe Portable Document Format TransformativeNetworking.pdf (Adobe Portable Document Format - 21k)
posted by RossWirth42   Feb 16 2010, 11:32 AM EST
Transformative Networking of leaders to enable emergent change

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