Issue 1, February 17, 2014

Dear reader, 

Welcome to LeadTogether's 1st Newsletter. This is our first test mailing to our friends group. Please take a look and lets us know how it works. Thanks,  Michael

LeadTogether: The Practice of Collaboration

LeadTogether: The Practice of Collaboration

At the heart of Waldorf Education is an imagination of a better world through human beings’ conscious collaboration with one another, the natural world and the spirit. Its founder, Rudolf Steiner, looked into the future and saw that, in order to combat an age of growing materialism and self centeredness, a new approach to education was needed – one that took into consideration the spiritual nature of the human being and the cosmos – one that considered the interdependence of the natural world and the spirit.

Now almost one hundred years later, we have made a good start. Waldorf Education is known and practiced in thousands of independent institutions throughout the world – schools connected by a commitment to this imagination.

In all of these schools and early childhood centers worldwide, groups of individuals continue to wrestle with the unique social dynamics of their organizations, trying to understand and incorporate the social impulses embedded in the  first school, as they strive to be practical, sustainable and creative organisms in their communities and cultures.

Throughout his life, Rudolf Steiner did everything he could to offer insights, tools and examples of a conscious working together. From the very beginning, he imagined Waldorf schools as social organisms where individuals would learn how to collaborate and lead together.

Collaboration in a faculty, in a board and in an administration is essential to the long-term success of Waldorf Education. Collaboration between schools and colleagues is equally as essential if we are to develop the kinds of relationships needed to keep our Waldorf schools vital.

This site is an attempt to gather the wisdom that has been gained during the last century and begin a new dialog about our tasks, one that we hope will help support a deepened understanding and practice of how to LeadTogether. -MS

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The Basic Qualities of Collaboration

The Basic Qualities of Collaboration

In every area of human endeavor, leaders are understanding better and better how to support the healthy development of the individual while building relationships that further the mission and effectiveness of the group or organization. In both hierarchical as well as horizontal organizations, inspired leaders are discovering and practicing new approaches to organizational management that create a balance of organizational and individual growth and development.

While a science of collaboration is still as of yet undefined, practice in many fields are leading towards a common view of the basic guiding principles.

In future posts, we will be elaborating on these principles and sharing insights, tools and skills to support healthy collaborative working.

At its core, collaboration requires a commitment to a common vision, shared values and clear goals.

Collaboration requires that individuals are empowered to take initiative and step into leadership roles according to their capacities.

Collaboration requires having clear roles and responsibilities for the people involved and ways of supporting individuals to be successful in their roles.

Collaboration requires the building of safe space and trust within and between groups. Trust is built through transparency, communication and consistency, as well as tolerance and forgiveness.

Collaboration requires open mindedness towards other points of view, experiences, contributions and styles and the practice of equanimity in relation to one’s own feelings and to the actions of others.

Collaboration requires ongoing reflection by individuals involved (in the form of self-reflection) and by groups (in the form of conscious review of intentions, processes and interactions).

Collaboration requires an interest by each individual in the growth and development of the other individuals involved in the group. This requires the individuals to be sincerely interested in understanding others and accepting that each person is on their own unique path of development.

Collaboration requires individuals to understand that the health of a group or organization depends on the health of the individuals involved and to be committed to finding ways that both the individual and group can grow simultaneously.

Both teacher, staff and volunteers leaders in Waldorf Education regularly face these challenges of working together  in our organizations. There are many tools available to help us navigate them — from learning to clarify values and create shared vision, to sharing biographical work, to hygienic communication techniques, to learning new ways of self and group reflection through meeting review and individual contemplative practice.  There are a vast array of resources to help us.  -MS

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Work Song, part 2: A Vision

Work Song, part 2: A Vision

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it…
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
here, their houses strongly placed
upon the valley sides…
The river will run
clear, as we will never know it…
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down the old forest, a new forest will stand,
its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields…
native to this valley, will spread over it
like a grove, and memory will grow
into legend, legend into song, song
into sacrament.
The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom indwelling
light.  This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its reality.

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