Talk:Leadership Development Working Group

Add topic
Active discussions

Leadership Development Working Group

Talk page feedback

Welcome! This space is for discussion about the Leadership Development Working Group. We have provided some questions below to help organize feedback, but you are welcome to share any feedback you would like. We encourage feedback that is constructive rather than destructive. Responses in any language are welcome. Please review the Universal Code of Conduct for discussion.


Wikimedia Foundation logo - vertical.svg

The following Wikimedia Foundation staff monitor this page:

In order to notify them, please link their username when posting a message.


Feedback on initial Leadership Development Working Group proposalEdit

Moving together along 2030 strategy pathEdit

In the strategy working groups the various initiatives were not designed to be implemented on their own. I'm missing any mention of an overarching plan or a set of goals that weaves this initiative into the other important aspects. Idealy leadership development would happen based on the demands of other programs, be it working in the new global governance structure or a regional structure, implementing local versions of globally discussed guidelines (for example UCoC), making decision-making more inclusive, and so on. It would be great to see the Community Development Team support the establishment of self-sustaining structures on a national/regional level, instead of enlargening the duties of the WMF, which is clearly the opposite of what the 2030 strategy states. So far we've seen little of the former, which for some weird reasons seems to be the sole responsibility of a strategy team dramatically understaffed and underresourced, tied up in a non-sensical BoT expansion and a process to establish a global council that will take until mid-2024(!), and a lot of the latter: individual efforts by WMF teams that seem to target a vague, future structure that will somehow magically be created by the communities themselves. That being said, it would be great to get the feeling that we're actually working in the same direction here, and that the top-down approach practiced in the last 10 years is being seen as a thing of the past. Braveheart (talk) 17:50, 8 February 2022 (UTC)

  • I fully agree and to be honest the name of Community Development Team also feels like a name from previous decade. Communities are not being 'Developed' and especially not by a new WMF team for all the different contexts.
    WMF should alocate resources (not like external funder) and people asigned to support (not like global service) for context specific development of resources and capacities for increasing the quality of expereince, sustainabile work and only then community growth (not threat it like quantified resource). --Zblace (talk) 08:39, 9 February 2022 (UTC)
    • Braveheart thanks for your feedback. Your concern that this initiative happens in alignment with a larger Movement Strategy implementation plan is an ongoing consideration of the Community Development team. It is a concern we will also share with the Leadership Development Task Force that will be formed. To your view about not enlarging WMF’s duties, we view this initiative as a facilitative contribution to the Movement Strategy's goals of leadership development, not as taking ownership or monopolizing the field. Creating a community-based working group that will help draft a definition and direction for leadership development is intended to enable movement-wide engagement with leadership development based on shared understanding and shared norms, not to leave all leadership development work in WMF's hands. We also hope that the globally-coordinated effort of this leadership development working group, alongside other parallel initiatives such as the Hubs initiative, can lead to the more localized, self-sustaining structures you describe. To Zblace’s point, communities certainly do develop, as a point of fact, and we think the team's name is adequate in that it states the team's goal: to support and encourage communities in their development. It certainly does not imply all community development depends on WMF or is the responsibility of our team, of course. We share Zblace's hope that more resources would be allocated to development of resources and capacities. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 10:28, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
      BJiang (WMF) maybe the aspect of Support should than be central to the name. Also I think using plural for multitude of (different) communities would be more adequate. In that respect I would think Support Team for Developing Communities would be beter naming. Anyway regardless of the name I hope we can understand each other on what is missing. --Zblace (talk) 20:01, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
      "Creating a community-based working group that will help draft a definition and direction for leadership development is intended to enable movement-wide engagement with leadership development based on shared understanding and shared norms" - how is that even possible without a movement charter to tell you what those shared norms even are? Creating a single global working group won't solve your problem of addressing very different needs across different regions of the world, which should already be evident if you had talked to the people trying to design regional hub structures. So either there is an overarching plan that addresses and links all areas of the strategy implementation so that we don't establish facts before we get round to discussing what the facts should look like, or you support local efforts to design what leadership or organisational management might look like in the future and take your cues from there. Getting a group of people together and then pretend there are some global norms and values that we all agree on is definitely not the way forward. Braveheart (talk) 11:37, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
      Just to emphasise the need to coordinate this effort with the overall strategy implementation, has this actually happened or not? Braveheart (talk) 10:34, 18 February 2022 (UTC)
      • Thank you for your additional comments, Braveheart. Your point about encouraging local efforts is noted and also one we agree with. This initiative to create a leadership development working group responds to a need for a globally-coordinated effort and we think having both global and local efforts are necessary. This is also the conclusion from the Movement Strategy conversations. While this initiative has a global focus, it is happening in parallel with local initiatives such as those that are resourced through the Movement Strategy Implementation Grants, which we are aware of. To use your language, the hope is that the learnings from the local efforts provide cues to this globally-coordinate effort and vice versa. We see this global effort as focused on establishing infrastructure - definitions, direction, roles, resourcing - that can support local implementation initiatives. To address the latter question about coordination with an overall strategy, this is a big priority for the Community Development team. Our team is in close communication and partnership with the Movement Strategy & Governance (MSG) team, the Wikimedia Foundation team supporting the strategic implementation of Movement Strategy. This leadership development task force initiative is happening with MSG’s support and informed by other Movement Strategy initiatives. Once the Global Council and Movement Charter are in place, and as more information comes to light, we plan to integrate the work on leadership development with those newly formed structures. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 10:14, 23 February 2022 (UTC)

Essay and reading listEdit

Leadership (terminology and criticality)Edit

I propose that we do not use the words leadership or leader. We should treat each other as equals. We're all volunteers and volunteer will do just fine and acknowledges the egalitarian nature of the projects. Helping volunteers develop certain types of skills may be beneficial or even necessary, but I have no desire to do volunteer work while being led by a "leader". My aversion to the term also stems from the very negative connotations it carries, in some languages more than in English, such as the German en:Führer for example. Also, I think we should allow comments like "I don’t agree” or "this is terrible". Pre-empting criticism creates an echo-chamber with little or no divergent views that generates ideas that are insufficiently robust for application in the real world. Vexations (talk) 19:13, 9 February 2022 (UTC)

I fully agree. IMHO in the post-socialist countries I visited it mostly has super problematic conotations both from history and from (liberal promise of) a future. So when it is used in context of civil society / non-profit sector it is usually just tolerated as a huge compromise for the 'western' funding support, while locals avoid it.
As for opression of positivity against criticallity this has been a fairly dominant Californian +/- historical imperial English norm projected to the global WMF communication with little effort to learn about differences, let alone re-calibrate and adjust expectations of inputs from what I know. Please prove me wrong. --Zblace (talk) 06:52, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your feedback about the term “leader,” Vexations and Zblace. It is noted and will be shared with the working group being formed. The definition of leader is a subject of debate, especially seeing as the term has varied associations across the globe. Let us also note that while on-wiki, Wikimedia contributors indeed contribute as peers and are not led, in off-wiki programmatic work such as producing Wikimedia events, wiki expeditions, partnerships, etc., there certainly are de facto leaders (whether or not they use titles like "leader," "program organizer," "coordinator," etc.) taking the responsibilities associated with off-wiki work, such as paying vendors, securing venues, recruiting other volunteers, etc. I also appreciate the feedback about criticality. The purpose of the differentiation between constructive versus destructive feedback is not to disallow all critical feedback, but to welcome critical feedback that doesn’t only shoot ideas down but also provides alternatives or amendments.BJiang (WMF) (talk) 10:47, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
  • the problem with banishing the cliché "leadership", is that all the literature uses it, so it is hard to discuss that body of knowledge without the l***** word; and the egalitarian idealism is talked about but not practiced, resulting in the w:The Tyranny of Structurelessness; and “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” [1]; and this community conflates negative and destructive feedback, there is a difference, as explained in the "psychological safety" literature. --Slowking4 (talk) 15:22, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
    @Slowking4 sure - it is easy to agree on that. One can always read literature with different levels of proximity to the context and hopefully not take it for granted. What is not easy here digest is the use of liberal-managerial nomenclature in the global, participatory and non-profit ecosystem and not critically reflect on it, skipping to option to self-articulate. Anyway - it is not set in stone and could be changed, but actions and values need to be aligned first (as written initially at the top with first input from @Braveheart). --Zblace (talk) 09:27, 13 February 2022 (UTC)

I was writing about the same, so I merged the topic I created with this. I understand what is been attempt with this initiative, it is good and I support it, but I don't think "leadership" is the best word. The idea of leadership implies that are followers, and it is very hard to make Wikimedia volunteers follow something or work in teams. The Wikimedia 2030 project is a good example of that, we see very few comments in the Wikimedia 2030 pages in meta, despite it is important to the Wikimedia movement and it was announced in many places. The great majority of volunteers want to focus in some specific tasks in their home wiki, and they simply ignore what don't affect directly those tasks, they do not follow something other people say is important, and we can not say they are wrong, we are volunteers in a horizontal project, nobody need to follow anyone. So, I think this initiative should try to develop organizers, not leaders. Organizers can create an environment where each volunteer can get a better view of the indicators and the opportunities in each wiki, so they can switch from one task to another not because they are following someone or some group, but because they saw some indication that the task is more important, more fun or more interesting in their personal criteria. That, in my opinion, would be a better way to develop this initiative. Danilo.mac talk 19:42, 9 February 2022 (UTC)

  • Exactly. There is little effort to understand coordination and organization work, but a lot of asumptions that there are types of people are "leadership" profiles, as if there a single way to do and organize for all the different contexts. --Zblace (talk) 06:52, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
    • Danilo.mac, thank you for your feedback about the term “leadership” and suggestion and reasoning for the term “organizer.” I think your definition of “organizer” as someone who creates an environment that helps and encourages people is a helpful way to view what we hope to achieve with this initiative. To Zblace’s point as well, I also recognize your point that there isn’t a single type of “leader” but different contexts will have different needs. We do not make this assumption. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 10:47, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
Good to know you liked my suggestion, but I still want to emphasize my point about the leadership terminology. I know that there are different types of leaders, I had read the section that says it before I comment above, but I don't agree that some kind of leader is what we are looking for, because all different types of leaders implies some kind of follower, there is no leader without follower, in the same way there is no shadow without light. Wikimedians don't like to be followers, so if we create leaders they will find no one to follow them. Danilo.mac talk 22:31, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
Hi Danilo.mac; if I should add, I think leadership is important even on a Wikimedia project as a volunteer. There are individuals who are responsible for strengthening the effort of the Wikimedia community off-wiki; as they ensured they train and recruit more editors for the project; one way or the other, they assume the responsibilities of a leader and mentored other potential editors to become expert even as a volunteer. I agree all volunteers are equal as there are no contest about this atall but there are individuals who mentored other contributors and hence get to be a mentor to other editors. So personally for me, a leader in this context is basically someone who takes responsibility of other editors retainship growth couple with mentoring. Regards. Kaizenify (talk) 23:27, 11 February 2022 (UTC)
Yes, I forgot about the newbie mentors, that is a type of leader that exists, works and is important in Wikimedia projects. Newbies don't mind to be followers. But as this initiative doesn't involve only mentorship and off-wiki activities, I still think the leadership word is not appropriate. Danilo.mac talk 02:03, 12 February 2022 (UTC)
  • If a project is not familiar with us, we can not give any feedback actually, that's what I saw here. Even with the longer summary, I can not understand what this project main idea is, writting were just so general, hard to understand what it really is. Jonathan5566(talk) 01:26, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
    • Indeed. I feel phrasing and depth of information is sub-optimal to have informed discussion for/by community, but leaves enough manoeuvring space for WMF staff to go in few directions. --Zblace (talk) 06:52, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
  • TBH, I have read the information page twice, but I still don't understand how they work and what problem they would like to solve. SCP-2000 09:24, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
    • Jonathan5566, Zblace, and SCP-2000 in a single sentence: this effort aims to jump-start a constructive community-centered conversation about the Movement Strategy's goals of Skill and Leadership Development, recognizing that not enough progress has taken place so far, and also that it is not for WMF to decide on its own how to proceed. In a few more sentences, this community-based working group would help clarify what is meant by “leadership,” what we are trying to achieve with “leaders,” and what steps can be taken to move in this direction. From the Movement Strategy conversations around Skill and Leadership Development, there are many ideas for implementation. How can we take action on those? How do we resource the projects? Which ones should be prioritized? And before those questions, what is our collective goal for “leadership”? These are some of the questions the Community Development team hopes the Leadership Development Task Force can begin working on answering and having community conversations about. I hope I am helping to clarify this initiative. Thank you for your interest and input. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 10:47, 10 February 2022 (UTC)
      • BJiang (WMF) thank you for quick reply. If what you write is fact than I think text should be upadted to center the conversation and not the forming of the advisory task force for supervision of WMF's work. --Zblace (talk) 09:47, 12 February 2022 (UTC)
  • Please note that we are volunteer and collaborative community. We edit and work with others equally. Wikimedia community doesn't need "Leader" to lead volunteer. I hope this project can support and improve the capacity of collaboration, facilitation and organization of the community (e.g provide resource and training about it). Thus it can help the development of community. Thank you. SCP-2000 07:51, 13 February 2022 (UTC)
  • In one sense Wikipedia has too many leaders. Leaders create tasks for other editors to do. The ubiquitousness of the   across Wikipedia shows that there is no shortage of these leaders. On the other hand there is a severe shortage of leaders with the talents needed to persuade editors to work on these tasks. This is a problem the corporate world usually solves with money; they pay others to do the tasks that they don't have the capacity to complete themselves. Why are there so many  ? Because "anyone can edit". This includes lots and lots of drive-by editors who have no interest in becoming long-term volunteers. They don't want to invest the time in learning the policies and guidelines before they start editing, they just want to get that biography or corporate profile posted live on the wiki. This type of volunteer vastly outnumbers the long-term volunteer gnomes and thus they swamp them with  Wbm1058 (talk) 15:06, 13 February 2022 (UTC)
    • That is a very interesting point of view, I didn't think in that way before, it make a lot of sense. We have an abundance of leaders creating tasks, and a scarcity of people to execute those tasks. Maybe that is why we don't like the idea of creating more leaders, we unconsciously know that it is the opposite of what we need. We need more people to execute old tasks and less people creating new ones. I don't know how to do that in a horizontal and volunteer project, but the better we understand the problem closer we get to the solution. Danilo.mac talk 20:27, 13 February 2022 (UTC)
      yeah, we have too many non-leaders: interacting with others with templates, and adversive direction; trying to increase quality by increasing the scrap rate; creating yet more cascading review processes with soul crushing backlogs. Need to stop the dysfunctional, and start the functional collaborative teams to address problems. Need to model facilitation, rather than dictation. Slowking4 (talk) 22:30, 14 February 2022 (UTC)

Найдите переводчиков ваших идей на язык доступный пользователямEdit

Добрый день. Я не знаю английский язык и я вижу, все варианты переводов ваших идей и предложений на русский язык сделаны или гугл-переводчиком или людьми, которые не знают русского языка. В русскоязычном разделе википедии развернулась дискуссия в которой участники пытаются понять, что именно вы предлагаете. Среди участников есть пользователи гугл-переводчика, есть люди хорошо разбирающиеся в английском языке. Появление обсуждения тонкостей перевода говорит о том, что сформированный вами текст не ясен и не понятен и содержит возможность множества толкований. Увы, это тенденция: все предложения, появляющиеся на meta не имеют ясных и однозначных формулировок, что приводит к отторжению ваших идей и предложений в не англоязычных проектах. Найдите квалифицированных переводчиков на основные языки википроектов. VladimirPF (talk) 08:16, 10 February 2022 (UTC)

@VladimirPF, спасибо за ваш комментарий. Мы понимаем, что некоторые термины могут трактоваться по-разному в зависимости от местного контекста и культуры. Например, термин "лидерство" можно понимать по-разному в зависимости от контекста. Одна из целей данной инициативы: проведение бесед и выработка общего понимания. На данный момент мы собираем обратную связь от сообществ. Начиная с мая, когда будет объявлена и начнет свою деятельность целевая группа, они будут работать над разработкой общего определения термина "лидерство" в контексте проектов Викимедиа. Надеюсь, это поможет. AAkhmedova (WMF) (talk) 14:09, 28 February 2022 (UTC)
Простите, но мне не нужно объяснять что именно вы собираете. Я попросил переводить на языки основных вики-сообществ, то что вы продвигаете. Вопрос про корректный перевод, а вы уводите разговор в сторону и пытаетесь объяснять мне то, что я не спрашивал. Ещё раз, простите, но вы ведь даже не прочитали и не попытались понять в чём суть моего предложения. И мне говорят, что наше сообщество не слышит ваших благих пожеланий... ПОВТОРЯЮ: Найдите квалифицированных переводчиков на основные языки википроектов. VladimirPF (talk) 15:32, 28 February 2022 (UTC)
Поддерживаю Владимира. Возможно, предложения команды специально написаны таким бюрократическим, канцелярским языком, к которому мы привыкли в СССР: вроде сказано много, а совершенно непонятно, что конкретно. Я вот даже сегодняшнего поста у нас на форуме не понял. w:ru:Википедия:Форум/Новости#Давайте_вместе_отпразднуем_разнообразное_и_индивидуальное_лидерство_движения. Что это, чёрт возьми, значит? Как можно праздновать лидерство? Lesless (talk) 19:46, 2 October 2022 (UTC)

ParticipationEdit

I think it is good that you plan to use Sprints and publish want to publish what the Task Force thinks about specific topics. Please offer a possibility to make comments on the specific discussed topics and try to take additional input from other people not involved in the Taks Force. After my understanding the decision making relevant discussion should happen mostly on the pages and Talk pages and not in a Task Force or another kind of committe. Because this leads away from a understanding of equality of the people participating in the Wikimedia Projects. For being part of the committe I think it is important that you dont expect to much knowledge or expierence in leadership development before being part of the Task Force. It is good if there are different point of views in the Taks Force. This can lead to a further acceptance of the output of the Leadership Development Task Force.--Hogü-456 (talk) 15:38, 12 February 2022 (UTC)

Thank you for your feedback and interest, our goal is to ensure we have a mix of experiences in the working group. Thank you for your point on publishing outcomes of the sprints for community feedback throughout the process, this is definitely a priority of this project. SRamkisson (WMF) (talk) 15:09, 15 February 2022 (UTC)

Psychiatric evaluationEdit

Old users, especially admins, behaving as community leaders can be destructive in terms of wiki growth, even if they are supported by an adequate number of users or WMF itself. Narcissistic disorder personalities i.e. can be extremely hostile without appearing as such. Task forces staff in general are subjected to psychiatric evaluation. The community feedback on these persons should be evaluated by doctors. Unfortunately a full evaluation includes meetings in person with the doctor. Evaluation services should be outsourced to reliable organizations.   ManosHacker talk 02:00, 17 February 2022 (UTC)

Hi @ManosHacker ! I share your observations and concerns as I guess many others, but not the way to deal with this. I think narcissistic disorders flourish online in general, but with long-standing projects like Wikipedias, there is both context-specific accumulation and manifestation as 'territorial' hyper-identification that multiplies with 'power'. Community health is something I am also more concerned over than just quantitative growth by bringing fresh batch of newbies regularly into often toxic environments so that volunteer system 'somehow' keeps rolling.
The problem IMHO that no individual 'leaders' and trainings will fix such systemic issues in Wikis, also not solved (only) by singling out extreme cases worth psychiatric evaluation as you desired, but likely having multiple simultaneous actions like: having periodic psychological observations and advising of all long standing contributors; systemic way of tracking micro-aggressions (non-explicit abuse of power is just one of them) towards new and less powerfull users; number of years one can do admin work on the same project could be limited...without such wide and strong statement from WMF and Wikimedia community, we will not easily change the dominant atmosphere for (too) many Wikis. --Zblace (talk) 07:31, 18 February 2022 (UTC)
Hi Zblace, malignant narcissism can flourish in small wikis and a toxic leader does not aim at newbies. Mobbing of users who are perceived as a threat need a cure. "Task forces" out of such "leaders" give me the creeps.    ManosHacker talk 08:01, 18 February 2022 (UTC)
Our talk pages are open to anyone to read. If anyone wants to do a study on the psychology of users who communicate on talk pages they can just do it. That set of users would include most community leaders on the actual production side of the projects. They are usually easy to identify. Engaging with the users would require some discretion to remain ethically acceptable, but I would not think the barriers are insurmountable. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:40, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

Feedback from Arabic CommunityEdit

Received on a social media channel, added here by Mervat:

  • 12 members won't fulfill the diversity objective, think for regions, language, or any other diversity aspect.
  • Will language be a barrier for non-english speakers that may prevent them from applying?
    • Thank you for sharing this feedback here, Mervat (WMF). To answer the questions, we hope that language won’t be a barrier and are committed to providing language support to those who need it. Regarding the feedback about the 12-person group and diversity, I do want to recognize that 12 members is not representative. There is no perfect group size that can both ensure diversity and work efficiently. To include a broader range of perspectives, the plan is to gather feedback from communities often throughout the working group’s work process. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 10:14, 23 February 2022 (UTC)

A strange, hard-to-understand conceptEdit

…when applied to Wikipedia, at least. I rarely have to consult the German translation, but after reading the English original multiple times, drinking water to make sure my lack of understanding is not caused by dehydration, and still failing to understand the page's content, I gave it a try. "Entwicklung von Führungsqualitäten". Well. I think I'm slowly starting to understand what this is about, but I still fail to see the point. Or rather, my lack of comprehension is becoming disagreement. The English and German Wikipedia communities have no shortage of ideas for reformation, charismatic people who organize events (de:WP:WikiCon, de:WP:AdminCon, en:WikiConference North America), and activists for various causes. However, there seems to be a widely shared opinion in favor of the holy "status quo", leading to failed proposals at en:WP:DESYSOP2019, en:WP:DESYSOP2021, en:WP:RFA2021/P, and de:Wikipedia:Meinungsbilder/Verbot von Auftragsarbeiten durch PR-Dienstleister, just to name the four that immediately come into my mind with memories of frustration. Whenever there are reasonable proposals to change the status quo by well-existing "leaders", these proposals fail for reasons not to be sought in the leadership.

Oh, and as others have noted, the terms "leadership" and "Führung" are certainly suboptimal. Obvious nazism associations aside, the lack of article ownership (Eigentum an Artikeln), the volunteer nature of the project and the lack of administrative authority over content make "leadership" as in "authoritative leadership" a highly theoretical concept that might primarily coexist with a lack of community involvement and editing experience. I'm relatively sure that no authority is meant to be implied in your usage of the term, but this causes undesirable ambiguity. ToBeFree (talk) 23:12, 20 February 2022 (UTC)

  • Appreciate your feedback ToBeFree. I understand that the term “leader,” especially in its general and ambiguous form, has many associations, some more negative and unfitting to our movement than others. We hope that this initiative can lead to further conversations about what the term “leader” (or good “leader”) does or doesn’t mean in our context. To reply to the examples you share, this initiative does not suggest any changes to on-wiki governance. Articles continue to not be owned by anyone, editors continue to be peers, etc. Instead, this initiative aims to begin defining terms, plans, pathways, and resources that cultivate effective leadership in activities where leadership would be beneficial. This is still up for discussion but to share some preliminary examples, some of these activities may include: off-wiki program organizing, partnership building, newbie training, etc. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 12:14, 23 February 2022 (UTC)
    A "community event task force" perhaps?   Yeah, helping with the organization of off-wiki community events does sound fine and welcome. Educating future organizers to indirectly support the creation of future events is also a good thing to do.
    A link to the page had appeared at en:Template:CENT and left me in confusion for a while. ToBeFree (talk) 18:45, 23 February 2022 (UTC)

Overview on general topicsEdit

Hi,

I would like to give an overview on general topics related to the task force strategy from my own personal viewpoint. To begin with, it is highly important to try to identify a common definition for Leadership that ensures different cultural contexts; however, I suggest that there would be more than one definition approached in a holistic inclusive manner. To clarify, when we are dealing with a leadership task force, the main drive is the human being, for this, the definition has to unify everything together, or to cover all perspectives across all communities. It’s important that the movement is trying to build an infrastructure with standard definitions, or scope but I find it more useful to allow this definition to be holistic to include all different definitions presented by all groups and communities.

It is true what connects us is a standard skill related to the WM where editing, translating, or adding articles but the human element and the element of communication are diversified. We all approach challenges and discussions differently regardless of the common mission the movement enforces. For this I was reflecting on the coordination aspect of the task force, is it going to be global or divided according to regions? How much can the movement guarantee the diversified backgrounds to include all communities? Is the movement going to limit the task force to one global unit or is there a possibility to have a regional task force to ensure that everyone is included? Thanks. NANöR (talk) 12:47, 25 February 2022 (UTC)

  • Thank you for your feedback NANöR. Your comment about the need for a holistic approach to defining leadership, where different perspectives and contexts are considered, is noted and will be shared with the working group. I also agree with you that it is important to recognize there isn't a one-size-fits-all definition. Regarding the coordination aspect, the current proposal is for the group to be a global group of individuals with varied movement backgrounds. Group diversity (including regionality) will be considered during the selection process. A need for global coordination was expressed during the Movement Strategy conversations. This of course should be paired with regional and local perspectives. One way we hope to include regional and local perspectives is by gathering feedback continuously and locally during the working group's working period. During the February Call for Feedback, we worked with the Movement Strategy & Governance team facilitators to host a multilingual, localized feedback process and hope to continue this. We will also bring your questions to the working group itself to continue determining how regional perspectives can be prioritized and included. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 09:43, 3 March 2022 (UTC)

The application is open.Edit

Under heading 2. How to give feedback, it says. "The application is open", although it doesn't say what that application is, or where to find it. From the privacy statement, one might infer that it is probably another a Google survey. It won't be the first time I feel compelled to point this out: That I would have to submit myself to surveillance capitalism in order to participate in the the creation of free, gratis/libre knowledge is anathema to me. I will not be providing feedback via a service provided by a company whose business model is based on spying on its users. Please find an alternative. I do believe a group of competent developers can create a survey tool that does respect its users. Fund the development of such a tool and release it as free and open source software. Doing so would exemplify the kind of "leadership" that I -would- like to see. Vexations (talk) 23:03, 3 March 2022 (UTC)

  • Hi again Vexations, thank you for sharing your concern. I also acknowledge this is a concern shared by others. A few teams at the Wikimedia Foundation have recently piloted the use of the open-source survey tool, LimeSurvey, after an extensive legal and security due diligence process. The hope is that we can scale this to the other teams soon. To address the current concern with the Leadership Development Working Group application, another way we are accepting applications is by email. We can send the application questions by email (or a delivery method of one's choice) and one can email the responses back to us. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 18:39, 30 March 2022 (UTC)

Updates buttonEdit

While I don't mind signing up, too... The updates button doesn't go where one might think : ) - Jc37 (talk) 09:53, 26 March 2022 (UTC)

  • Hi Jc37, we added the button in this way to allow people who view the page in other languages to sign up as well. It is a workaround that was used because previously it wasn’t possible for individuals reading the page in other languages to sign up. Hope this helps to clarify the button. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 18:40, 30 March 2022 (UTC)

Why are applications open?Edit

As far as I can tell, there hasn't been any sort of on-wiki consensus for the Community Development Team's proposal to create a closed, off-wiki "Leadership Development Working Group". Would the team please explain how they evaluated a positive amount of support for the continuation of this project? Most of the comments above seem negative, and so it's not clear why this is moving forward without some sort of consensus to proceed. TomDotGov (talk) 16:01, 28 March 2022 (UTC)

  • TomDotGov, thank you for your question. The feedback for this initiative was collected through numerous channels, on and off-wiki, and we have received positive support for the initiative. You can read the summary of feedback. You are right that we have received concerns, particularly focused on the terminology “leader” and the various interpretations of the concept. This is exactly the purpose for such a working group. The concerns shared above and others are going to be discussed by the working group in conjunction with broader conversations with communities. The working group will be gathering feedback and input from communities throughout their work so the intention is that it isn’t a closed discussion.
The idea to pursue leadership development is not coming from the Community Development team but from the Movement Strategy process, namely the resulting “Invest in Skills and Leadership Development” recommendation. The Community Development team is responding to the recommendation by helping to convene a community-based group to move it forward. We don’t see our role as making decisions about leadership development but as helping to create spaces for community conversations, decisions, and actions on this Movement Strategy recommendation. BJiang (WMF) (talk) 18:59, 30 March 2022 (UTC)
@BJiang (WMF)Looking at the feedback process, it seems like it was designed to only collect positive feedback. That might be appropriate when you're trying to design a proposal and give it the best chance of being accepted from the community, but feedback from that early phase (where negative feedback is actively discouraged) can't be mistaken as support for actually proceeding forwards with the initiative. I don't see anyone really coming out and saying "this is the best way to accomplish the leadership development goals".
This is attempting to establish a new, non-standard process. That process is almost certainly inferior to the process that's used to create the content that is at the heart of the mission. You're talking about a dozen people spending a total of 3,000 hours on this, without clear goals. You're arbitrarily choosing 12 working group members to interact with, and it's not clear why limiting membership like that is helpful. It's not clear how you can write "the working group will be gathering feedback and input" - the working group hasn't been formed yet, and so you can't commit to what it will do. Other working groups have had a poor track record of responding to feedback.
Just because the idea to pursue leadership development comes from the movement strategy process doesn't mean that this attempt to address it is a good one. I don't think it is, but it's possible enough people disagree with me - we don't know. A "non typical" process like this one requires substantial support, or it will be seen unfavorably. I don't really see that support, and I don't even see an unbiased attempt to evaluate that support, without discouraging negative opinions. Without that, we can't say that this is the best - or even an acceptable - way to invest in skills and leadership development, and that's something that can be determined by typical processes before this non typical process begins. TomDotGov (talk) 13:47, 31 March 2022 (UTC)

Definition of LeaderEdit

I think the discussion about the definiton of the word leader in the context of Wikimedia projects should be public and here in Metawiki and additional in the other Wikimedia projects. In Germany also because of the history the word leader is not a positive wording. A leader in context of the Wikimedia project is something that is mostly present at offline events and there I would say it is more a kind of organizer for an event and usually not a single person. For big events there is usually an organizing team. I would define the word leader as a person who cooordinates an group that works on an specific topic. I dont like leadership when it is that someone tells me what I have to do. This is something where I hope that this will not happen in the Wikimedia projects. After there are different cultures in the world regarding leadership from my point of view this is a question where a lot of views are important to hear. I would call it instead of leader: Community Supporter. This involves all actions where several people are working together on a specific topic and it is outside of the usual content related work and an additional offer to keep the Wikimedia projects an social welcoming place. So it is mostly about organizing events.--Hogü-456 (talk) 18:29, 4 May 2022 (UTC)

The definition of leader is someone with commanding authority. I don't want such people involved in the projects. Neither does anyone else, except, apparently, the WMF, as far as I can tell. Vexations (talk) 19:34, 4 May 2022 (UTC)
Per Leadership Development Working Group/Purpose and Structure#2. What will the working group do? there are frequent misunderstandings about the word "leader" and not having a shared definition of “leader” and “leadership” can cause misunderstandings. You are clearly misunderstanding. A wikt:leader is 1. One who goes first. Jimbo Wales is a leader. He made the first edit to Wikipedia (which he later sold as an NFT). Millions of editors have followed him and made more edits. Wbm1058 (talk) 02:03, 5 May 2022 (UTC)

Transcript / discussion from Wikimania?Edit

I saw there was a 'mania session, any links to notes and other thoughts from it? :) –SJ talk  14:58, 1 September 2022 (UTC)

Hi @Sj, thanks for reaching out. You can see the video recording here. Olugold (talk) 16:17, 1 September 2022 (UTC)

Feedback on leadership definition drafted by Leadership Development Working GroupEdit

Feedback on the draft of leadership definitionEdit

There is a trait of a good leader I missed in the draft: a good leader is able to identify personal traits, and based on that stimulate people in direction to tasks they are more aligned with. People contributing in tasks they are more aligned get more motivated and yield more results. Danilo.mac talk 19:23, 15 September 2022 (UTC)

I liked the definition of leadership as it includes non. Please keep the focus on situations where hierarchies are not clear. I dont like hierarchies if this means that someone tells someone else what to do. For me participative kind of leadership is the one I like at most.--Hogü-456 (talk) 18:23, 16 September 2022 (UTC)
As a volunteer I don't recognize someone is hierarchical above me in the movement, but I would appreciate if someone recognize what motivates me, and based on that suggest me some tasks where I can feel motivated and my collaboration can be useful, if I don't feel motivated I just don't follow the suggestion. Stimulate someone in direction of something they can fell motivated and useful don't necessary means a hierarchical order, a friend can suggest to other some task they can enjoy, that don't mean there is an hierarchy between them. Some people may not like that kind of suggestion, that is another reason the ability to identify personal traits is important, different people are motivated and interact with others in different ways, an approach that work for some people may not work for everyone. Danilo.mac talk 21:31, 16 September 2022 (UTC)

I'm afraid this effort shows quite well how individual teams at the WMF are taking the strategy recommendations and pretending that their little slice of the strategy pie can be baked on its own. None of these bullet points are solely the responsibility of leadership, but taking them out of context and letting them sit on this page alone will create that illusion. Actions like "Facilitating the elimination of any obstructions ensuring they do not become a barrier to others." require many other pieces to fall into place to be able to correctly identify and remove those obstructions, instead of potentially creating other obstructions.

The assumed good faith underlying all of the actions and qualities requires a detailed understanding of the environment that the leadership is working in. Being aware of what a leader does not know is more important in a Wikimedia-context than what a leader believes to know. We've seen this over the last 20 years that the leadership that believes to know everything about their community tends to create a toxic environment, where other opinions don't matter because the leadership knows the community best anyway. Therefore the actions listed here should not be done by one person alone, but instead should be relying on the Wikimedia way of a collective effort, applying the team member's strengths and mitigating their weaknesses (as pt:Usuário:Danilo.mac pointed out above). Why are we instead focusing on individual saviours, with no clearer understanding of what is asked of them?

Learning from mistakes is great, but we do not have a culture of publicly talking about mistakes and learning from them. You can read most grant applications from the last 10 years and you will rarely find an open account of governance (maybe a better term than "leadership"?) issues that have happened. Instead, we get cases like Wikimedia France or recently Wikimedia Armenia, where it is unclear even to a wide part of the WMF itself what had happened to those organisations. WMF internally there is a severe tendency to refuse financing or support to projects or strategy implementation that will make the middle management at the WMF look bad if they should not pan out as originally intended. Pairing that with an internal WMF debate culture that sees any open questioning of management decisions as disruptive and malicious results in an environment that is hostile to change. The recent Wikimedia Summit has been a quite stark demonstration of this sentiment.

I'm also struggling to understand how the actions could be implemented in Wikimedia projects that do not have a critical mass of community members or are highly indivdiualistic, like Japanese Wikipedia. A pre-amble concerning the background and experiences of the people participating in developing these bullet points would help understand where these ideas originated and what they primarily should apply to. Braveheart (talk) 10:49, 17 September 2022 (UTC)

I definitely acknowledge the need for our movement to better facilitate capacity development, which feeds into leadership qualities. For many years I have been part of various working groups and communities that have struggled to find volunteers that were willing to take up leadership roles and were at the same time also in possession of the skills and experience to do so. I have been encouraged to see some of that work take place over the past years, initiated both by some people at the WMF and some chapter officers through various pathways.
I'm somewhat struggling to see the use of these definitions in their current form, and the context in which they should be read. In that sense, I'm definitely nodding my head while reading the response from Braveheart: it's easy to read this as some centralist effort. At the same time, I'm trying to think through how I would expect our movement to address this alternatively, and that is still hard to wrap my head around. Maybe having a common vocabulary does help as a step in the direction of developing these qualities in our movement. It won't get us there, I agree, and any solutions will require more programs, more efforts and most of those will have to be volunteer driven and community supported to be effective in a meaningful way. If I read this list of bullet points as "these are the qualifications we value in Wikimedian leaders", the list makes quite some sense.
If we would contextualize this properly with some introduction of how people are expected to read this, and maybe some conversation guides, it could offer a starting point for a conversation among a community or working group to talk about their own shared leadership qualities, and what is lacking. It could then help us prioritize changing our workflows a bit (e.g. how can we become more decisive) or recruit someone to add those qualities. This context and understanding is severely lacking from the current text though - it feels like a lot of thought, effort and understanding went into this, and contextualizing it better may be a good way to ensure that the content actually has an impact. I'm not sure either what the next steps would be or how we could take such a list and help people develop some of these skills.
What would help me to contextualize this better would be answers to some of the following questions:
  1. If you compare this to academic literature on the topic, how does this list contrast? What are the leadership qualities that Wikimedia communities, teams and groups look for but are not necessarily expected in business, academia or society?
  2. Does this list of qualities has to manifest itself in a single person, or in the group as a whole? At what size (ballpark) does this kind of evaluation become relevant?
  3. You describe some qualities you're looking for in leadership. What would the complement look like: a list of signals that can help you identify ineffective leadership.
  4. Which of these traits are culturally determined, and which are universal?
  5. What do you want the Wikimedia world to "do" with this list? What are the next steps that you have in mind?
  6. What are you planning to do next?
Thanks for the work on this, but somehow it leaves me with more questions at this point than answers. Effeietsanders (talk) 01:06, 21 September 2022 (UTC)

I really like this definition. The inclusion of "build autonomy" is critical as leadership should not create conditions of reliance. A few other points:

  1. I think the use of "leadership" vs "leader" allows us to envision leadership beyond a singular individual
  2. The use of "good" as a descriptor, lends itself to a dichotomy "good leader" vs "bad leader." Bad leaders do exist, but not because they don't possess the actions, qualities, and outcomes listed under "Good." Perhaps "effective" or "impactful" are more accurate descriptors.
  3. "People develop and achieve a common goal" - I think it's essential for leaders to be able to facilitate *action* towards the goal. Achieving the goal is ideal but failure to do so should not disqualify leadership.

--Nyeboah (talk) 17:37, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

Considering that this definition now exists and still pretends that leadership is something that doesn't have to be integrated into a whole row of other initiatives and frameworks means that this is still going ahead? Do we really have to escalate things to the upper tiers of the WMF every time before anyone actually listens to anything we have to say on this talk page? Braveheart (talk) 14:54, 27 October 2022 (UTC)

Wikimedia-l threadEdit

There has also been some discussion on the Wikimedia-l mailing list, where the leadership definition was announced. Rather than repeating that discussion here, here is a link: [2] Best, --Andreas JN466 20:03, 17 September 2022 (UTC)

Please adopt Wikimedia LimeSurveyEdit

Thank you for what you do. I have to report that I received a Google Form via my e-mail but Google suit has GDPR concerns in my country and moreover Wikimedia Foundation had a privacy leak over Google Form. I recommend in adopting https://wikimediafoundation.limesurvey.net/ (please request an account to Wikimedia Foundation - it's available to staff members). Read more in LimeSurvey. Valerio Bozzolan (talk) 14:21, 22 September 2022 (UTC)

ObstructionsEdit

"Facilitating the elimination of any obstructions ensuring they do not become a barrier to others."

Some obstructions and barriers may be necessary or desirable. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:13, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

That's correct. And now? Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 16:18, 23 September 2022 (UTC)
Peter: do you have alternative language you would propose that addresses your concern for misinterpretation? Effeietsanders (talk) 22:53, 24 September 2022 (UTC)

MistakesEdit

"not being afraid of making mistakes"

Some mistakes have disastrous consquences. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:17, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

Given the attempted brevity, would you propose different language that has the same intention? Of course this does not try to message that all mistakes are totally cool, but it seems to signal that good leaders generally are not afraid to make occasional mistakes if that implies that more good decisions are also made. There is definitely some nuance not captured here (which is sometimes a choice). Note that systemic inaction is probably even more likely to have disastrous consequences. Effeietsanders (talk) 22:52, 24 September 2022 (UTC)

Release?Edit

"People release creative ideas."

I do not know what this is intended to mean. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:24, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

I suspect what this tries to capture is that under good leadership, team members are more likely to have and/or share good ideas. It seems to acknowledge a facilitating role for leadership. Effeietsanders (talk) 22:54, 24 September 2022 (UTC)

Trust within the communityEdit

"Generating and retaining trust within the community"

This is an important point. I would like to see a little more clarity on this line. Like; how to interpret the "trust within the community..."?

For example, if a community runs on a democratic process, it is unlikely that all of the community members are going to agree upon everything all the time. Especially when it is encouraged that leadership should have the courage to take a reasonable amount of justifiable risks. If things go sideways, there is a good chance that we will see different opinions among the community members as we have seen it many past occasions.

So, my suggestion would be to make this sentence, "Generating and retaining trust within the community by majority through transparency, inclusivity, and autonomy of the group." - Shabab Mustafa (talk) 20:32, 5 October 2022 (UTC)

Return to "Leadership Development Working Group" page.