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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
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Leadership Development
Strategies to enhance leadership capacity abound in the public and private sector. In the organizational development field, an entire industry has emerged trying to teach people how to be effective leaders. But what skills does it take to be an effective leader? The answer to this question is an elusive one, for the range of skills needed to lead is as diverse as the environments in which a leader emerges. In the community-building arena, leadership development is often closely tied with developing those skills needed to bring individuals together on behalf of a broad-based action agenda. The ability to understand other's perspectives, to facilitate and build consensus, to move issues to action, and to broker power - these are all skill-sets upon which these leadership development approaches commonly focus. Enhancing citizenship and advocacy skills are also common themes - providing opportunities for individuals to better understand how local, state and federal government works, how laws are drafted, and budgets constructed - in order to make democracy work on behalf of a community's needs and issues.

Many leadership development approaches that focus on skill building to support community advocacy or community change take their roots in the community organizing and inter-group relations traditions of recent decades. These models are often tied to an explicit social justice agenda, and may offer a range of leadership skills that run a continuum from collaborative problem solving to more adversarial community change tactics. Agencies and communities seeking to enhance resident-focused leadership development efforts on behalf of a primary prevention agenda need to be explicit about their values in order to assess the appropriateness of various approaches to their overall goals.

Leadership development efforts carried out to prepare residents to participate in prevention focused community change can also benefit from incorporating skill building that introduces citizens to a public health and environmentally focused community change approach. This focus opens up a broad range of research-based policy strategies shown to be effective in reducing alcohol and drug abuse, as well as the violence and crime often associated with it.

Click below for additional resources and specific leadership development strategies.

Leadership Development Strategies

  Free To Grow Leadership Approach

  Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)
  Midwest Academy
  Institute for Cultural Affairs

  Parent Leadership Training Institute


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.