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Leadership Learning

The Omidyar Fellows curriculum identifies and promotes five categories of competencies.

These are interwoven competencies that result from our ability to first identify those who are in alignment with the vision, have both the motivation and ability to actualize, and can engage in partnerships to impact societal results.

Be Responsible for Societal Progress

  • Identify gaps between desired state and current state
  • View change as re-interpretation and renewal
  • Honor greater good of the whole
  • Act persistently

Managing the Self

This is the one arena that every leader has the most control over and has the potential to have the most impact. We can be the greatest obstacles to our own progress and impact. The ability to read and appreciate ourselves, go into the corners of our sense of self, embrace all aspects of who we are, and appreciate how we present to the world are all requirements of leaders who have impact. Progress requires taking risks and stepping outside of your comfort zone for the sake of something you care about.

  • Know your strengths, vulnerabilities, and triggers
  • Know the story others tell about you
  • Choose among competing values
  • Get used to uncertainty and conflict
  • Experiment beyond your comfort zone
  • Take care of yourself

Energizing Others

This is beyond dealing with motivation. It is about creating the pathways and connections where stakeholders can find alignment and engagement. It requires leaders to stretch their own comfort zones to go outside of the circle of usual and comfortable voices. It is about engaging people on their terms, not on yours. It requires skills in developing the capacity to listen, appreciate the multiple stances, and create a process that everyone can trust.

  • Engage unusual voices
  • Work across factions
  • Start where they are
  • Speak to loss
  • Inspire a collective purpose
  • Create a trustworthy process

Diagnosing Situations

This starts with understanding the differences between adaptive and technical challenges. The mind can take in extraordinary amounts of information. Unfortunately, we often overestimate the clarity and accuracy of our diagnostic skills. We tend to diagnose at two levels: surface and profound. Most of the time, our attention is drawn to the surface, which leads to directing action to easy solutions that are most available to us. We learn to rely on our expertise, but that is not enough. We must observe and understand the situation from all angles.

  • Explore tough interpretations
  • Understand the process challenges
  • Test multiple interpretations and points-of-view
  • Take the temperature
  • Identify who needs to do the work

Intervening Skillfully

The true measure of leadership must be that actions or interventions lead to progress. We define an intervention as an attempt by one or more people to make progress. To intervene skillfully is to do so consciously and purposefully. Skillful interventions help manage conflict by bringing it into the open and working through it in a productive way.

  • Make conscious choices
  • Raise the heat
  • Give the work back
  • Hold to purpose
  • Speak from the heart
  • Act experimentally