One of the best ways to energize your coalition toward collective action is to identify passionate champions who can provide leadership, inspiration and energy to accomplish the collective goals and objectives. Sometimes, these passionate champions can be very loud and insistent on their way. If “their way” aligns well with the coalition interest overall, that works well; however, when “their way” diminishes other coalition members or is not aligned with the overall coalition’s perspective, this can be problematic. If you are struggling with our Partnership Pitfall #9, letting the loudest voices get their way, join me this week for three recommendations on how to prevent the loudest voice from dominating the coalition and discouraging other coalition members from actively engaging.
- Meet with these coalition members. Include at least one other staff or coalition leader in the conversation with the passionate champion (a.k.a. loudest voice member) so that you can both discuss and take notes. Try to understand their perspective more clearly and identify whether they are aligned (or not) with the coalition overall. Ask about their areas of greatest interest and how being part of the coalition benefits them and their work. Sometimes these coalition members are so passionate that they do not realize they are trying to dominate the entire coalition.
- Assign the “loudest” coalition members a specific role. If you are trying to recruit new members or participants, ask them to help you with recruitment. If you are facilitating a meeting, ask the “loudest” coalition member to help you encourage others to participate. If they have a role in creating engagement opportunities, this may help them realize they need to speak less and encourage others to speak more.
- Find other ways to solicit feedback. If these coalition members make it difficult for others to share their perspectives, find other ways to get feedback from the group (e.g. electronic survey or electronic polling during a meeting). You can even use the collective feedback as part of your meeting(s) with these coalition members and to inform decision-making that is sometimes hijacked by these “loudest” members.
So, what about you? What are you going to do to address the “loudest” coalition members so that you can maintain engagement from other members?
If you haven’t yet downloaded my free worksheet on Overcoming 10 Partnership Pitfalls, click here.
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