Mission Driven Mozillians - Leadership Principle 2

mission-mozillians

(Lucyeoh) #1

This is the discussion section for Mozilla’s Volunteer Leadership Principles & Practices. Please read the original post before participating.

Principle 2. Leadership should be distributed

  • The number of leadership roles someone can hold at a single time should be limited
  • New leadership opportunities and pathways should be decided and consulted on by the community involved in that area
  • Criteria for the role requirements should be validated by the impacted group
  • We should create clear definitions for roles and avoid the generic term “leader”
  • Leadership responsibility should be held by groups where possible

Please respond to the following question:

What would implementation of this principle & practices look like in your community or area?

Here are a few more questions to help you think about implementation:

  • How can we ensure distributed leadership in small communities? (1-5 people).
  • How do we ensure leadership roles are accessible and communicated to everyone?
  • How do we enable group leadership?

Stay connected to this project by subscribing to the mission-mozillians tag.


Mission Driven Mozillians - Volunteer Leadership Principles & Practices
(Kairo) #2

What specific problems is this supposed to solve? What does the “number of roles” stance actually mean and what instances have we seen of a problem existing in that area?


(Michal Stanke) #3

I think I have touched this in my comment to the first principle. If there is anyone considered as leader, it should be a person open and listening to feedback and also giving feedback. I do not care how many role he/she holds or even if those are well defined. What I need is understanding what is he/she responsible for, be open for communication and how can we help each other.

How can we ensure distributed leadership in small communities? (1-5 people).

Specifically to this point, I do not think small communities up to ~10 people need any defined leadership if they have shared understanding of their own goals and priorities.

How do we ensure leadership roles are accessible and communicated to everyone?
How do we enable group leadership?

Do we have to? I mean, is this a real problem? Are people confused or lost, who is the leader for the area they need help with?


(Rubén Martín) #4

This is related with “Leadership responsibility should be held by groups where possible”. How do you think we should enable this shared leadership? How would you see this happening in your community/area?


(Michal Stanke) #5

We have a common place to share, ask and discuss what everyone is doing, or if there are any questions or doubts, what and how should be done. In our case it’s Slack, but it can be Discourse, IRC with logs, Telegram group, mailing list or similar that is easy to add new people and has some archive or history. If people are somehow responsive, it’s always easy to ask for quick feedback when you are about to do something new or different, or propose a new activity. Of course, in time pressure or short time activities, comments from people involved in the same area (l10n, SUMO forums, writing post) always matter more and are more required than from people involved in different areas.


(Michał Dziewoński) #6

A few thoughts on this:

  • The number of leadership roles someone can hold at a single time should be limited

I don’t know what a reasonable number is, but maybe roles could be assigned “weight”, depending on their global importance and a person’s “role weight” would not go over a certain value. E.g. you could have two roles of 0.5 “role weight” each. It would also allow people to “mix & match” different roles of different types, as long as they kept within a limit. If a certain role is very important, it could take up all the “role weight” available to one person.

  • New leadership opportunities and pathways should be decided and consulted on by the community involved in that area

…but Mozilla’s staff could definitely be providing guidance and expectations in this respect, since those opportunities and pathways are a part of Mozilla’s mission. On the other hand, the community could form its own requirements and expectations for leadership, according to: " criteria for the role requirements should be validated by the impacted group".

  • We should create clear definitions for roles and avoid the generic term “leader”

Maybe each community could list all the activities it’s involved in - and that could lead to a “requirement triage”, where certain activities would be grouped together to provide a template for a (set of) leadership role(s). We do have a bunch of existing lists of that type within our functional areas already, so they could serve as a good starting point.

I would like to suggest “coordinator” (akin to Michal’s “guide”) as a neutral and informative description of the kind of activity I assume we want to encourage Mozillians to participate in for the benefit of everyone involved.

  • Leadership responsibility should be held by groups where possible

If a community group is small enough, everyone could be involved in the responsibilities. This would also make smaller communities more resistant to people dropping off and would potentially encourage

  • How can we ensure distributed leadership in small communities? (1-5 people).

A community of 1 is not a community. If there’s really nobody else to share and collaborate with, that person could work directly with the key stakeholders on Mozilla’s side. I have a feeling that as staff members, we’ll always have to be ready to serve and help both kinds of contributors - those who thrive in groups and those who prefer to work on their own - and bridge the communication/interaction gaps between them as much as possible, without compromising their contributions and our focus.

  • How do we ensure leadership roles are accessible and communicated to everyone?

Could we use a subpage of mozillians.org (or careers.mozilla.org) to present such roles? Or it could just about subscribing to a newsletter, perhaps? The roles could require a mozillians.org profile, by the way. This means an auto-include of Community Participation Guidelines in the requirements for all candidates.

  • How do we enable group leadership?

If all the interested/involved people within a community are connecting frequently in a group setting and take decisions together, that could go a long way towards small community longevity. Could we deliver “how to work together as a group” trainings to existing communities? I think this quality may have been left to develop on its own over time, and could have not spread equally across Mozilla as a desirable set of skills.


(Rmcguigan) #7

Yes this prevents burnout, I definately agree.

Yes, one challenge might be in order to be inclusive and transparent, this needs to be more flexible. For example, decisions made in the Social Support program in regaurds to moderation may be different from that of the forums due to the different impact of either’s public visibility on the web.

How do we plan to validate this? I might want leadership to decide on this, but it may not be consistent

What term would you suggest when there is a leader, but no role? “Coordinator”? “Facilitator”? For example I have many names for leaders with many hats - moderators and prominent leaders of the social program. For exmaple, this is my current layout for Social Support Roles feedback welcome to ping me directly.

I would give a community task responsibility to each as a basis and ask them to tell me what they consider themselves a leader of by what they contribute to most or by their definition.

This can be done by keeping the mozillian’s profile or the groups page in SUMO up to date. Right now it is not. (Task for SUMO!)

by being facilitators and keeping active communication where we can. There are templates that I have shared with SUMO and ones that SUMO has created themselves. In attempt to organize these, they need to be promoted in all groups.


(alex_mayorga) #8

¡Hola @lharris!

This is a tricky one, what if the whole small community is all focused in a specific goal, say l10n or SuMo? What does “leadership” entails? How can the group take away “leadership” from the “leader” without (s)he walking away from the community?

I believe the good old “Work in the open” applies here. Sadly this keeps being forgotten and more often than not contributing to Mozilla becomes more of knowing the right person that can grant you access to the right Google Doc or Slack. Working openly in general has to be reinforced with the staff IMHO. How about https://mozillians.org is treated as an actual directory of the whole community and some layers of who “leads” whom or what is added there. Until the problem of “you’re not in the right mailing list, IRC, Telegram, Slack, ‘Instachat’, etc.” gets solved the “communicated to everyone” bit would be non-trivial to solve.

Great question! I believe rivers of ink have been already poured into this subject and yet is is not solved so I’m not even going to try. Sharing what I’ve experienced in my local community where there are apparently “leaders” for almost any topic or subject in any way or form you wan to slice it yet very few “doers” and almost every initiative I’ve seen surface dies down while trying to create buy-in form the “leadership” or consensus from the peers in the group. Perhaps a Mexican thing but bureaucracy seems to poison and destroy everything down here…

Hope this all made a bit of sense at least.

¡Gracias!


(Imen Rahal) #9

First, roles should be clearly defined and responsibilities listed so that a potential leader can exactly know what is expected from him and then tasks can be split between them based on interest and time of each of them. Ideally, it should be self-organizing teams like Agile for development.

Once someone joins the community as volunteer, or in the forum welcoming new comers, we redirect him to a link (Mozillian.org ?) describing the different leadership roles.