Re: Cohousing and the future: training leaders
From: Kevin Wolf (
Date: Thu, 5 May 94 09:22 CDT

Hi everyone, 

We notice the same leadership phenomena at the N St. CoHousing 
Community.  Some of us came to the community with skills.  Others have 
gained them here through our consensus meeting process and other 
activities.  We rotate facilitators which means every adult gets to 
practice.  The more who have experienced the role, the easier the 
meetings are.  

A number of community members have ended up being the most skilled person 
in their outside non-profit groups and have a similar experience in terms 
of becoming leaders.  The kids know a tremendous amount about meetings 
for thier age because of their experience sitting in adult community 
meetings and their own regular Kids meetings.  Their vocabulary alone  is 

I agree with the thinking that CoHousing will help our overall society 
because as we practice living together, we gain skills that are powerful 
and useful for society at large.

Kevin Wolf
724 N St
Davis, CA 95616
phone and fax: 916-758-4211

On Wed, 4 May 1994, Fred H Olson WB0YQM wrote:

> Message author: Rob Sandelin <robsan [at]>
> Posted by the COHOUSING-L sysop.
> I had a very interesting and stimulating discussion last night at 
> community dinner with a visitor who is a student of sociology.  One of 
> the things that came out in our discussion that I had never thought 
> about before was the idea of Cohousing as leadership training.  As this 
> discussion rolled around our common eating area several members noted 
> that in virtually every organization, and  also within their work 
> environment they tend to end up in leadership roles. We are not 
> actually leaders in terms of being governors, or presidents of things, 
> we are leaders with a small l, running the PTA, the local pre-school 
> board, the local democratic caucus, etc.
> I found that was true of myself, not because of any desire to run 
> things, but that after several years of working with this group and 
> refining our meeting process, I can't stand to sit through poorly run 
> meetings and I end up "ghost facilitating" by asking for agendas, 
> setting time limits on discussions, creating action items and 
> deliverables and action plans, reviewing progress and summarizing.  
> When you do that a few times, you end up being nominated to be the 
> chair.  One of the commonalties we discovered is that even when several 
> of us have declined leadership position we are the ones who get called 
> by the leaders for council and advice.  It was very fascinating to 
> watch this conversation unfold (one of the best things about community 
> dinner) and see the connections being made.  My wife, who declined the 
> presidents role in the PTA is constantly being called by the leadership 
> for advice.  This same exact thing was related by four other neighbors 
> with organizations they belong to!
> Although they don't come to meetings much, our children also show 
> similar leadership roles in school and in play and tend to be the 
> peacemakers and instigators of cooperative play.
> I never realized that so many of my neighbors hold so many leadership 
> positions and it sparked a very inspiring discussion about how the 
> cooperative values, negotiation and communication skills which are 
> inherent in Cohousing are also very much the skills of leadership, and 
> if we are the leaders, and our children are the leaders of the next 
> generation, there really is hope for a saner world.
> I wonder if the leadership phenomena we discovered last night holds 
> true in other groups?
> --
> Fred H. Olson   fholson [at]     Sysop of COHOUSING-L mailing list
> 1221 Russell Av N; Minneapolis, MN 55411        voice: (612) 588-9532
> WB0YQM  146.64 MHz with DTMF Selcall: 233 ;        FAX by arrangement

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