At the Center for Integrative Leadership, we work with our partners outside and inside the University of Minnesota to catalyze, learn from and inform collaborative action for social impact.  We focus on the question of how individuals, organizations, institutions, tools or incentives from the public, private and non-profit sectors can effectively come together to address complex challenges.  A University-wide Center of the University of Minnesota, we are affiliated with five of the University’s Schools that focus on leadership, governance and management: the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Carlson School of Management, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Public Health, and the Law School.  We stimulate and provide a focal point for teaching, research and discussion that can enable shared leadership and provide actionable lessons for success.

Integrative Leadership: What Is It?

  • It’s a field of shared leadership practice that can take many forms, including state or community task forces; organizational governance models that mandate intergovernmental or public-private collaboration; social enterprise organizations or pay-for-performance funding mechanisms; collective impact initiatives; and contractual partnerships.
  • It draws on many different theories, tools and models.
  • It is enabled by individual skills, knowledge and leadership but is fundamentally about shared rather than individual practice.
  • It harnesses diverse capacities, techniques, incentives, individuals or organizations in coordinated action for public good.

Integrative Leadership: Why Should We Care?

  • It’s fundamental to making progress on significant and solvable societal challenges and enhancing individual and community capacity for positive change;
  • It’s hard.  Multiple actors work outside formal hierarchies, with different areas of focus and terminology, and across sectors and institutions; organizations take new forms, blending incentives and imperatives.  This is hard to organize, hard to sustain, and hard to assess.
  • It empowers change.  The more we understand diverse techniques, processes, organizational forms and funding mechanisms that support this work, the more experience we have at implementing and adapting them, the more effective we’ll be in enhancing individual and community capacity for positive change.

Integrative Leadership: Where Do We Start?

  • Integrative leadership is everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s opportunity.
  • Individuals can learn skills, and can practice approaches and behavior, that foster collaborative action on complex problems.
  • Awareness of self and others; linguistic and analytic flexibility; strong communication skills, imagination, persistence and accountability are all required to seize opportunities for, frame, sustain and assess integrative leadership.