To invest in and foster the future leadership of the Movement, we recommend an approach based on several actions and requirements. The development of distributed leadership must occur in contexts where stakeholders are responsible for determining the resources and tools needed, as well as for sharing and transferring knowledge and experience within the Movement. Utilizing the principle of subsidiarity, we can forge a diverse network of leaders ready to face both local and global challenges in the Movement.
As communities grow more complex, roles and responsibilities emerge, and a leadership development plan becomes necessary. A plan ensures there are pathways for future leaders and proposes methods to identify and promote new generations of leaders. It aims at creating a perspective that fits that particular community, encouraging its self-governance and ensuring self-determination. A leadership development plan should include an outline of roles as well as clarifying term limits and pathways for developing skills and experiences to serve their community and the Movement at large.
Fostering leadership also requires planning resources and bringing in new people that have skills, backgrounds, and experiences that are currently lacking in a particular context. The plan requires encompassing all the types of leadership support such as mentoring, peer-to-peer development, training events, tutorials on a knowledge management platform, etc.
As an additional measure that could work in specific contexts, we envision the incorporation of coaches or trusted advisors, a new concept within the Wikimedia Movement. These would be independent contractors or Movement staff who would assist leaders across communities in identifying their needs and in finding proper ways to address them. They are ideally from within (or have the trust to consult with people from within) the various communities and have an expertise that will assist in obtaining more contextualized development of and participation by community members.
Leadership plans must set methods of ways to bring more diverse types of leadership and propose practical ways of ensuring our Movement’s leaders in all areas represent the diversity of the world’s population. Communities need to be able to receive adequate support and help from well-established structures if they wish to create such a plan, as well as with proper execution of its stipulations.