query: leaders to organizers

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Mon Sep 22 19:49:53 CDT 2003

[ed:  Bill also offers some thoughts on the definitions of leader and 

From: "Bill Schlesinger" <pvida at sbcglobal.net>

On another level, the organizer role is 'facilitator' of a process.  The 
leader's role is to speak for the organization publicly, to champion 
the content from the community, and to use their links and ties 
within the community to validate the issue(s).  The organizer keeps 
an eye on who's in, who's out, what messages from the community 
are being heard/not heard.  The organizer brings an outside 
perspective into the process, which can be replaced by another 
person with a similar skillset.  The leader's role is harder to replace, 
and is more of an internally validated position.  

That said, a leader who wishes to become an organizer should 
probably develop those skills, but take them to another community.  

> .
> [ed:  Doug contributes some definitional and other thoughts to the 
> discussion.]
> From: DougRHess at aol.com
> One problem with the leader/organizer discussion, is that one 
> person's talented and dedicated leader (or secondary leader) is 
> another's volunteer organizer. In anycase...When it comes to 
> members being paid organizers, there is also the issue of 
> leadership within the organizing staff. Residents of a community, 
> geographically defined or not, have a particular problem is being 
> their community's main/lead organizers: self interest. Not self 
> interest as in "we want better schools for our kids" but self interest 
> as in "I want ..."  I'm sure many of us have seen this turn into 
> political careerism, etc. Of course, that problem isn't limited to 
> local-residents-cum-staff. But I've seen some version of this occur 
> in gay/lesbian organizing and n'hood organizing. I guess there is  
> finally something positive to be said for turnover in staffing!
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