Art of Participatory Leadership. Conversations or Results?

Is the Art of Participatory Leadership (AoPL), also known as the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter (AoH), just about talking, about conversations? Is it theoretical or practical? What about actions? What about results and deliverables? These are all questions we have been asked.

Sometimes, with a need to justify training dollars, whether they come out of our own pocket or an employer’s, comes the desire to point to tangible results – and we have an impression of what that means and what might be an acceptable investment. Usually this is not encapsulated by the use of the word “conversations”.

But what if it is not either/or? What if it’s both/and? Or, even more than both? Conversations are required to get to action. The quality of the conversations influences the quality of the results. People want to work with others, be on teams and in organizations that understand this.

We can tell you unequivocally, that if the patterns and practices of AoPL did not get results, we would not be using them. It’s as simple as that. It is also more than that.

Hosting invites people to bring their voices to the conversations, the meeting discussions, the employee or community engagement sessions. It affirms that “your voice matters” and can foster a sense of connection and community. Combining the Art of Participatory Leadership with Worldview Intelligence is even more powerful.

The right conversations can surface hidden dynamics, or make visible those things that most people are unwilling to talk about, in ways that are healthy and productive. AoPL patterns and practices offer structures for what leadership, engagement, planning and actions can look like. They offer insights into human dynamics and provide a responsive approach to planning that is adaptive to emerging circumstances.

To use these patterns and practices well requires relational leadership, to care about the experiences and well-being of the people who are gathered, for whatever purpose they are gathered. To listen deeply, to what is being said and what is present, but not said. It also requires open and transparent interactions, which includes follow up with those who have been invited and engaged.

Participatory Leadership and Hosting are not just methods or processes. When truly embraced, they become a way of being and a way to positively influence any of the environments in which we live, work or play.

We have a 2-day Art of Participatory Leadership Intensive and a 1-day Introduction to Worldview Intelligence, in-person training, in Minnesota, in January. You can find more information on both here. We would love to see you there.