In facilitating groups forward toward positive change I have benefitted greatly from Peter Block’s book, Community: the Structure of Belonging.
Leadership is simple he asserts. It involves three steps:
- Create a meeting that will attract (not coerce, manipulate, or threaten) those you invite to it.
- Ask great questions.
- Listen with interest and curiosity.
Here’s a bit more from a book review I found online:
Block says that the key task for leaders in bringing about this shift is to create structures for authentic engagement. This means:
1) creating a context that nurtures an alternative future, one based on gifts, generosity, accountability, and commitment;
2) initiating and convening conversations that shift people’s experience, which occurs through the way people are brought together and the nature of the questions used to engage them; and
3) listening and paying attention.
Block is especially adamant about convening conversations in small-group settings. The small group is “the unit of transformation,” he says, because it creates a sense of intimacy. “The intimacy makes the process personal. It provides the structure where people overcome isolation and where the experience of belonging is created.”
Once the groups are brought together in a space that is conducive to genuine dialogue, it’s important to ask the right questions. Some examples include: What’s the commitment you hold that brought you into this room? What’s the crossroads you face at this stage of the game? And, what’s your contribution to the very thing you complain about? These questions, Block says, have the capacity to move something forward. By exploring them we become more accountable, more committed, more vulnerable; and when we voice our answers to one another, we grow more intimate and connected.