Group & Leadership Models

Working Together

The way a group and its leadership is organized will impact the work they are able to do. We’ve all been part of groups that worked well, ones that worked not-so-well, and ones that didn’t work at all. There are three models that are often used for group structures and community organizing. The principles translate well to all groups and neighborhoods and speak to the ideas of impact and sustainability.

I'm the Leader

One person trying to do everything without delegating tasks is not effective, time-efficient, or sustainable.

We're All Leaders

Several people going in different directions and doing their own thing is also not effective, and prevents continuity and strength.


Groups that delegate and share leadership and responsibilities around a common goal are much more effective and maximize capacity. It encourages accountability, and can grow and change as needed. The principles are based on mutual accountability, clearly defined roles/responsibilities, and the capacity for endless growth.

Tips for Community / Group

Make the Implicit Explicit

Do not assume people know what you’re talking about. Explain things and avoid using complicated vocabulary. People are often self-conscious about asking for clarification, especially in groups.

Listen, Listen, Listen

Listen and be open to feedback/input.

Be Aware of Barriers

Be aware of the physical and/or psychological barriers that keep people from joining the group or engaging when present.

Value Diversity

When establishing a community group, board of directors, etc. it is important to bring as diverse a group as possible to the table. Different races, cultures, genders, ages, economic background, professions, etc. mean more perspectives, skillsets, and experience, which will make the group more relatable and credible, and therefore stronger! Diversity is an asset. Learn about Asset Mapping.

Roles and Accountability

Defining roles and responsibilities for members of the group creates accountability, and adding timelines ensures that these assigned tasks are accomplished so that the group continues to move forward. Meetings should end with clear expectations and dates for tasks to be accomplished.


Say what you are going to do, and do what you say.

For a printable version of this guide, download the PDF below.


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