Emerging leaders

Emerging leaders

As social movements are grassroots, people-led change initiatives, it is essential that change agents, change teams and others emerge as informal and formal leaders who engage in social movement thinking and actions. In this section, you will learn some roles emerging leaders play and the knowledge and skills needed to navigate change processes using social movement actions.

What is the key characteristic ‘Emerging leaders’?

As individuals engage in social movement, they become inspiring change agents and/or members of change teams who willingly take on informal and formal leadership roles. With organizational support and a high level of investment and involvement in the change initiative, they emerge as individuals who speak out about and address the shared concern or strongly desired change, and take steps as leaders to drive mobilized individual and collective action (Dementia Action Alliance, 2018; Kennedy et al., 2019; Tremblay et al., 2018).

Why is the key characteristic ‘Emerging leaders’ important?

Emerging change agents, change teams and others are essential to the development of a social movement. They can:

  • play a central role in shaping and influencing parts of the social movement, such as collaborating to determine the shared concern or strongly desired change, frame or position the movements’ message, and create and coordinate for individual and collective action (Tremblay et al., 2018);
  • spark an interest in the social movement in others through their enthusiasm and commitment for the change. By continuing to seek and welcome others to get involved in the social movement, their efforts support the sustainability of the critical mass needed for transformative change (Kennedy et al., 2019); and  
  • act as positive spokespersons or messengers for the social movement (Dementia Action Alliance, 2018).

Newly minted RNAO Best Practice Champions and emerging leaders following a Level 1 Champions workshop in North Bay, Ontario  hosted by BPSO Nipissing University (PHOTO: RNAO, 2019, Oct 25)