Developing leadership potential

Making decisions that will affect the future of a community might be a daunting prospect for some new residents, particularly those who have not had a similar role in the past. In order for local people to be fully involved in local governance they may need a range of training opportunities, or mentoring from others.

PostboxWhere there is the possibility of real power and influence, people will often step up to the mark and take on responsibilities. Conversely, where involvement is tokenistic, people will be disillusioned and not inclined to participate significantly. Ideally, there will be a queue of people ready and waiting to be involved in the ongoing life of the new community in different ways.

Some residents will already be used to taking a lead, whether they have learned this through their jobs or in other forums. Others may need support and time to learn how to play their role to the full. There are training and mentoring techniques that community development staff can employ to raise the skills set and ability of new people who want to get involved but who might feel unsure of themselves. Stewardship organisations, community management organisations and others involved in the new settlements can encourage people to participate by:

  • establishing job descriptions and paid positions - where the responsibilities and expectations are significant
  • cultivating individuals with leadership potential - by providing leadership training and mentoring opportunities to develop these skills, as has been done by the Goodwin Trust in Hull to support the residents who sit on their organisational board
  • providing access to qualifications in resident participation, such as the CIH's active learning for residents, and training in relevant skills such as chairing meeting
  • Offering translation support for residents whose first language is not English
  • Providing other support to aid participation, such as childcare.