Welcome to the Kallion International Camp for Democratic Leadership 2021! In this program you will receive an introduction both to the facilitators and their workshops as well as some tips for sketching leadership, to help you get the most out of your leadership development, before, during, and after the camp.
Kallion’s Commitment to Democracy
Kallion is an organization dedicated to understanding and promoting the ways in which the study of the humanities may be used for leadership development. We are an organization that believes leadership is not something only a few people can practice but that everyone may practice in different ways and at different times. As such, we are an inherently democratic organization.
Kallion believes that communities function best when their members are using their talents, ideas, creativity, character, motivations, and energies at full capacity in service to that community. Cast positively, this would mean that the members are aware of their talents, know how to activate and employ them, and are motivated to contribute to the well-being of all. It would mean that those in the community, including those in leadership roles, are equipped to recognize the potential of others and work to activate, encourage, and train it. It would mean that there are also rules, customs, institutions, and resources in place to encourage a state where everyone is realizing their potential. Cast negatively, this means that no one in the community is being excluded, dehumanized, or otherwise discouraged from living up to their potential.
Cultivating Your Own Democratic Leadership
In practice, you may develop your democratic leadership in a host of different ways across your many communities. The first step is to identify and take stock of your communities, including your family, your neighborhood or residential community, your workplace, your classroom, any organizations you belong to, any online communities you participate in, and of course your city, state, country, and the global community. Are the members of your community giving their best? If not, what is your theory for why that is? What is your theory for change? Do others need inspiration, appreciation, a vision, or access to education? Are there policies and common practices that would enable greater participation from everyone? Is everyone aware of the systemic obstacles that keep some members of the community at the margins of the discussion and action?
As you develop your theories about how your communities could better activate and utilize the best in all of us, you can then ask yourself what can you do to lead in these situations:
- What do you need to do to understand and appreciate the challenges facing your communities? What do you imagine leadership would need to look like to handle these challenges?
- What leadership behaviors could you exhibit more often and better?
- What could you do to form more collaborative relationships with those in your community? Do you need to cast off old relationships and form new ones?
- What decisions could you make that would allow you to show even more democratic leadership? Do you need to study new subjects, take new courses, pursue a new career, create/join/improve new organizations? Could you decide to reconceptualize your own identity?
- What can you do to improve your reputation for democratic leadership, so that people look to you to lead when the time is right?
- How will you improve your judgment as you work on the above?
Rich and Varied Pathways to Development
The ICDL is dedicated to helping you think through your development in several ways. The process will begin with your use of this manual leading up to the workshop. In it you will be able to identify the workshops that seem most relevant to you and the facilitators you would like to connect with more. You will also begin your practice of leadership sketching, guided by prompts from the facilitators (see more below). During the camp you will come to know the facilitators and your fellow participants through the workshops and in the “virtual cabins” you will be assigned to. This will be an opportunity to engage in intergenerational and international dialogue about democratic leadership.
Strengthening Global Democracy
How, then, does your development in democratic leadership strengthen global democracy? First, by embodying democratic leadership you become a spokesperson and a model for others to follow. Secondly, you become a more astute critic of what is and what is not democratic about the communities you belong to, including the political ones. You are thus poised to speak out when democracy is threatened anywhere. Thirdly, by participating in the ICDL you become part of a new community–the Kallion community!–whose members derive continual strength by staying in touch and supporting one another, such that when you hear disheartening stories about the rise of authoritarianism across the globe, you can feel buoyed by the hope that you are doing your part to stop it and have many allies in that mission.
Sketching Leadership: A Core Kallion Practice
A leadership sketch is simply a short or long writing sample that is used for recording, appreciating, and reflecting on your own leadership development. You may consider the sketches of others or create your own. You may even share your sketches with others as a way of sharing where you are coming from in terms of what you think leadership should and should not look like. This is a very old practice that was popularized by writers like the Athenian Xenophon (4th century BCE), who wrote dialogues about his friend Socrates in order to provide his contemporaries with a different kind of leadership to emulate. Five hundred years later the Greek biographer Plutarch elevated sketching to a high art, informed by research and vivid prose. He explains here how sketching worked for him:
“I happened to undertake the sketching of the lives on account of others, but I am continuing and enjoying it now for my own sake too, attempting to use historical inquiry like a mirror in some way or another to arrange my life and make it resemble the virtues of those people…By spending my time in historical inquiry and by my habit of sketching, since I welcome the memory of the best and most worthy characters in my soul always, I have prepared myself, if ever my associations by necessity toss something foul or wrong or disgraceful at me, to drive it away and reject it, and instead gently and calmly to turn my attention away towards the most beautiful of examples.”
-Plutarch of Chaeronea (46-120CE), Life of Timoleon 1.1, 5 (trans. Mallory Monaco Caterine)
Sketching leadership still exists today in many forms of biography and it is arguably most common in our films and miniseries about fictional and historical agents of leadership. For example, Ryan Coogler’s The Black Panther sketches contrasting figures: one who takes the counsel of others (T’Challa) and one who instead keeps his own counsel (N’Jadaka, a.k.a. Killmonger). Season Four of The Crown offers up three sketches contrasting figures of what “caring for others” might look like in an agent of leadership through the examples of Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Diana.
Using the analogy of painting, you can analyze or create a leadership sketch using any number of “palettes”, each one of which can be your window into a deeper appreciation of leadership and a point of reflection and emulation for your next stage in leadership development:
- the sensorial palette: How does your subject look, sound, dress, and move?
- the narrative palette: What is your subject’s story? What are their major accomplishments? What was their education, formal and informal? What were their defining experiences?
- the psychological palette: What are the defining character and personality traits of your subject? Do they have a familiar personality type?
- the comparative palette: Who or what is your subject like? Here you could consider comparisons to other people, other kinds of leaders, animals, and even physical objects. Try to unlock your inner-poet!
- the subjective palette: How does your subject make you feel? What is your relationship to your subject and how does that affect your impression? Do you identify with your subject?
- the evaluative palette: What human needs is your subject good at meeting? What limitations do they face to their leadership?
The journey of developing your democratic leadership is an exciting adventure, but it may also feel daunting. Where do you begin? What should you focus on first? We’re all here to connect, learn, and develop together as equals, each of us bringing our own talents, experiences, insights, and aspirations to the table. Below is a selection of the aspects of democratic leadership that you — the participants and facilitators of the 2021 ICDL — have identified as areas where you hope to grow:
Becoming better at listening and at speaking up (and figuring out when to do either)
- Confronting ignorance and counterproductive behavior in others
- Advocating for minority voices and participation
- Engaging in civil and constructive dialogue about problems both concrete and abstract Being a non-authoritarian authority
- The ability to clearly communicate and unite people around a shared sense of purpose
Increasing one’s knowledge base and appreciation for leadership
- Understand how to recognize values central to a community to develop a more democratic practice
- Understand how leaders balance between individual rights and the collective good Understand the optimal balance between authority and autonomy
- Understand how to develop structures for helping others meet their needs Improving self-awareness, developing greater moral sensibility and better judgment
- Improving the balance between words and actions
- Treat others more as full-fledged humans and less as skill-possessors
- To improve upon my ability to empower myself and others
- To embrace a philosophy of continuously learning, specifically learning from others, regardless of authoritative position
Challenging, encouraging, and empowering others, building relationships
- Empowering and including others by encouraging, honoring, teaching, or mentoring them, and by setting a good example
- Cultivate spaces for intellectually challenging discussion among my students
- Building networks of trust and understanding
May this list be a source of inspiration and connection as you move through the camp and beyond. Now, with your Kallion Leadership Sketchbook in hand, you are poised to reflect on the sketches of others and to develop your own, beginning with the resources in this guide. We in Kallion wish you all the best in unlocking your full leadership potential and the potential of others!