Common problems

Here are some common problems you and your core leadership structure may experience and some suggested strategies to address the problems:

Common problem Strategies to address the problem
Needing to replace members of the core leadership structure

When building the membership of the core leadership structure or replacing members:

  • strive to find individuals who deeply support the shared concern or strongly desired change;  
  • be mindful of the diverse skill set needed to lead change and seek out individuals with those abilities; and
  • recognize that an investment of time and commitment is necessary to build an effective core leadership structure.    

Dominant leadership by a few individuals who expect others to comply with their ideas

  • Be mindful that the strength of the core leadership structure is in its shared leadership model that includes decision-making.
  • If an individual continues to dominate, consider using democratic voting processes like dot voting (see Framing through storytelling | for more details and resources).   
  • Seek agreement at meetings regarding agenda items and priority areas.
  • Apply processes such as roundtable discussions to facilitate meaningful dialogue and decision-making.
A member of the core leadership structure does not attend team meetings regularly
  • Strive to establish meeting times that work for all members’ calendars to reinforce the importance of all team members’ presence at meetings.
  • Establish a culture of accountability within the team including expectations in areas such as attending meetings, and following up and reporting back on agenda items. 
  • Be aware of the strength and effectiveness of the team where there is a shared commitment and consistency in membership. Reinforce this with positive examples of collaborations amongst the team members. 
  • Determine if all of the team members remain committed to the shared concern or strongly desired change and/or if they have time available to engage in the core leadership structure. Be aware that interest in participating in the core leadership structure may also change as the social movement evolves and priorities shift. 
  • Agree as a team on how many meetings a member can miss before being asked to leave the core leadership structure.
  • Continue to recruit and mentor new members of the team, in cases where a replacement is needed.
Failure to actively engage others outside of the core leadership structure to co-design the change
  • Remain vigilant to engage others in relevant aspects of the change initiative including individual and collective action activities.
  • Ensure regular updates from the core leadership team at staff meetings or huddles or in writing via communication forums such as group emails.
  • Be aware of the limited power of the core leadership structure to achieve and sustain change without the active engagement of others.  
Micromanaging the change and putting limits on the role and energy of those not in the core leadership structure
  • Remain flexible and committed to making changes, as needed, to plans and actions based on feedback from others.
  • Recognize the limitations of the core leadership structure to achieve and sustain change.
  • Be aware of and embrace the collective power and energy of others is vital to a social movement as a people-led approach to change.
  • Avoid at all costs alienating the involvement or engagement of others and their ideas, energy and feedback. Recognize that placing limits on engagement in change by those who are outside of the core leadership structure can lead to a social movement in name only that lacks authentic ownership and will likely fail.  

SOURCES: Blueprints for Change, undated; Dementia Action Alliance, 2009.