Shared Leadership

In 2006 when ONE DC became a grassroots organization independent from Manna, Inc. to focus on community organizing, equitable development, popular education, and resident-led policy change, we knew that changing our name, mission, and engaging local residents in leadership (including the board of directors) was only the beginning.

In 2010 we continued our tradition of transformation. In order to walk the talk we needed to shift from a traditional community development corporation into a community organizing collective that lives and practices our values of grassroots organizing; democratic leadership; caring community; human dignity; collective sharing of power and resources; and “hell-raising for justice” in order to achieve meaningful, systemic change.

After a year of study and years of informally practicing shared leadership, in September 2010 we implemented a non-hierarchical management structure to reflect our participatory democracy goals and principles (as taught by Ella Baker). This includes involving grassroots people in the decisions that affect their lives; minimizing hierarchy and professionalism in organizations working for social change; and engaging in direct action to resolve social problems. We have now successfully transitioned into a non-hierarchical collective non-profit.

Below are some of our organizational definitions for the practices in our shared leadership model.

Shared leadership encourages consensus and dispels the notion of subordinates, while offering guidance and support
when necessary. Employing shared leadership within an organization ensures that a group of key stakeholders determines the direction of the organization as opposed to an Executive Director, CEO, etc.

Shared work uses reflection and strategizing to develop and implement a work plan with input from key stakeholders that may include: staff, board, members, the community and elected officials. This effort results in collective responsibility and accountability.

Mutual respect is a multi-directional value of and appreciation for others.

Collective responsibility is reflected through a unified decision-making process that emphasizes personal and organizational accountability, initiative, transparency, and collective oversight.

Appreciative inquiry is a co-evolutionary peer-to-peer support process that searches out the best in people and offers support in areas of needed growth.

Consensus Building/Decision-making is a mutual agreement reached through an exchange of ideas and solutions. This often requires a degree of compromise by team members in order to include all perspectives and address opposing viewpoints.

We practice participatory democracy through processes that allow each person to contribute to, and weigh in on, the organizational activities and operations. It maximizes and emphasizes multiple voices, equity, mutual respect, and collective action.

Creative uniformity is a commitment to embrace shared goals, clear processes, and methodologies within the context of ONE DC’s mission, vision, and values while, at the same time, exercising flexibility and innovation in the effort to achieve these goals.

One Voice/One Vision requires that each person has a fair opportunity to present his or her perspective, whether in support of, or in opposition to, a particular idea. The merit of all ideas is recognized and each team member, regardless of age, is viewed as a valuable contributor. Each vote receives equal weight in the organization so that there is an even distribution of responsibility for decision-making.

  • Each of us has leadership qualities, and none of us has all of them.
  • Leadership must be nurtured, cultivated, supported, challenged and shared.
  • We are all interdependent. We each bring our gifts and talents together to accomplish the work.  None of us can do this alone, and our collective effort always creates more than we can create alone.
  • Individual and collective effort requires discipline and unleashes creativity.
  • We build trusting relationships, speak truth with love, show compassion for mistakes. We are all growing.
  • A dynamic, effective organization is a learning organization. We must be willing life-long learners.
  • Accountability is essential. We hold ourselves and others responsible to honor our commitments, ask for help when we need it, and offer support to others.
  • Respecting each opinion, listening with an open mind, being willing to be challenged and to change all make us stronger and more effective.
  • Critical thinking is essential, but just being critical is not enough.
  • Developing and practicing creative solutions and building alternatives now is the mark of leadership!  We walk the road as we make it.


2017 Shared Leadership Team Meeting Dates & ONE DC office holidays

New Year’s Day Observed – Monday, January 2

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Monday, January 16

Saturday January 21, 2017 All Day Strategic Retreat & January SLT Meeting 10 – 6 PM

Saturday February 11, 2017 10 AM – 12:30 PM; Training 1 – 4PM

President’s Day – Monday, February 20

Saturday March 25, 2017 10AM – 1 PM Annual Meeting 2PM – 5 PM

Saturday April 8 10 AM – 12:30 PM; Training 1 – 4 PM

Emancipation Day Observed – Monday, April 17

Monday May 8, 2017 5:30 – 8:30PM

Malcolm X’s Birthday – Friday, May 19

Memorial Day – Monday, May 29

Saturday June 24, 2017 10AM – 1 PM

Independence Day – Tuesday, July 4

Summer Retreat – Friday, July 28 – Sunday, July 30

Monday August 7, 2017 5:30-8:30 PM – Conference call

Labor Day – Monday, September 4th

Saturday September 9, 2017 10AM – 1PM

Monday October 16, 2017 5:30 – 8:30PM

Saturday November 11, 2017 10AM – 12:30PM; training 1-4PM

Thanksgiving – Thursday, November 23 & Friday, November 24

Saturday December 9, 2017 10AM – 1PM; Member Appreciation 2PM – 5 PM

Christmas – Monday, December 25