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Develop leadership capacity

Cultivating existing and new leadership among partnership members is important. Just as coalitions have different structures, people bring different leadership qualities to a partnership. How will new leaders be mentored, trained, and encouraged? Below are some critical skills for coalition leaders that are addressed in Tom Wolff’s Coalition Leadership. These qualities are likely to reside in a group of leaders rather than a single individual. Who in your coalition has these qualities? Which qualities does the partnership need to develop more?

  • Inclusive and welcoming: Set the tone for bringing in new members, orienting members, and giving them active roles. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills: Make complex materials understandable for all audiences.
  • Group facilitation skills: Able to guide meetings, allowing everyone to have their say while moving through problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Conflict resolution: Appreciating its benefits, recognizing self-interests, and seeing common ground and seeking compromises.
  • Sharing the spotlight: Share glory with other coalition members and groups and celebrating the successes of the coalition.
  • Trust: Engender trust in others; reliable, honest and true to commitments.
  • Energy and hope: Bringing energy and hope to the coalition through style and actions.
  • Action oriented: Knowing how to move forward without getting bogged down and moving coalition toward action and accomplishments. 

Individual members can also use Am I a High Functioning Coalition Member? to reflect on their participation in the partnership.

People in your coalition may come and go and leadership may change over time. Consider how to create reliance on systems instead of individuals. Succession Planning: The Elephant in the Room provides tips for developing a systems-focused plan.

You may want to take time to consider how your organizational structure will guide your partnership on addressing membership renewal as members leave and new partners join. See Determine your organizational structure for related tools and guidance.