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Social Change Model of Leadership Development

Established in 1994, the Social Change Model of Leadership Development approaches leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, values-based process that results in positive social change.

It describes leadership as a purposeful, collaborative, values-driven process, instead of a title or position. Leaders try to improve the groups or communities they are part of. In this approach to leadership, a "leader" is anyone who wants to work with others to make a difference. This kind of collaborative process means that groups must have trust, which requires that group members act in ways that are consistent with their own beliefs and values as well as the group’s goals. The team that developed the model concluded that eight values are necessary in order to have trust, common goals and true collaboration.

The Model was built upon the following assumptions:

  • Leadership is socially responsible; it impacts change on behalf of others
  • Leadership is collaborative
  • Leadership is a process, not a position
  • Leadership is inclusive and accessible to all people
  • Leadership is values-based
  • Community involvement/service is a powerful vehicle for leadership

The Social Change Model is sometimes called the seven C’s for Change because it espouses seven values of leadership that occur on three dimensions with the goal of positive social change (the eight “C”). Each dimension interacts with one another as shown below.

  • Consciousness of Self
    Awareness of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivate one to take action. This is the key to being able to develop consciousness of others.
  • Congruence
    Thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty towards others; actions are consistent with most deeply-held beliefs and convictions; interdependent with Consciousness of Self.
  • Commitment
    The psychic energy that motivates the individual to serve and that drives the collective effort; implies passion, intensity, and duration, and is directed toward both the group activity as well as its intended outcomes; requires knowledge of self.
  • Collaboration
    To work with others in a common effort; constitutes the cornerstone value of the group leadership effort because it empowers self and others through trust; leadership as a group process; encourages group to transcend individual goals, interests and behaviors; vital that group members explore differences in individual values, ideas, affiliations, visions and identities.
  • Common purpose
    To work with shared aims and values; facilitates the group’s ability to engage in collective analysis of issues at hand and the task to be undertaken; best achieved when all members of the group share in the vision and participate actively in articulating the purpose and goals of the activity.
  • Controversy with civility
    Recognizes two fundamental realities of any creative group effort: that differences in viewpoint are inevitable, and that such differences must be aired openly, but with civility.  Civility implies respect for others, a willingness to hear each others’ views, and the exercise of restraint in criticizing the views and actions of others.  Requires trust amongst the group members; conflicts need to be resolved but also integrated into the common purpose.
  • Citizenship
    The process whereby an individual and the collaborative group become responsibly connected to the community and the society through the leadership development activity.  To be a good citizen is to work for positive change on the behalf of others and the community. The practice of good citizenship should and needs to happen at every level of the model.
  • Change (*The Eighth C)
    The ability to adapt to environments and situations that are constantly evolving, while maintaining the core functions of the group. Change is the value “hub” which gives meaning to the 7 C’s and is the ultimate goal of the creative process of leadership – to make a better world and a better society for self and others.