Learning from COVID-19 grassroots leaders: What we can do (part 2 of 2)

by | Jul 28, 2021 | COVID-19, Leaders, News, Research

Six hands holding each other in a circle

We talked to grassroots leaders in COVID-19 to understand what support would help them. This is what we take away.

You can see an overview of the research on the study’s project page. Read the full report to get all the details of how we conducted the study, who the participants were, evidence for our findings, along with our takeaways and recommendations.

Our goal was to  understand  how we might expand our services to support Spontaneous Leaders — people who emerge as leaders in situations of ambiguous leadership — during a crisis.

You can read a brief summary of our findings here. These are our takeaways.

What we can do

First and foremost, continue with the CCL mission!

Second, help SLs to understand and succeed in a daunting and unfamiliar journey,

  • Develop educational materials that foster appreciation of SLs and that offer SLs inspiration, practical advice, and emotional encouragement. See, for example, “Advice from the frontlines” on our Leaders page.
  • Spread the skills and mindsets needed to start and run a successful grassroots crisis response effort.
  • Guide SLs through the common journey of a grassroots crisis response — from ideation to stabilization – using the principles of Design and Entrepreneurial Thinking.

Third, finding and connecting with SLs to offer them support in the midst of a crisis poses a substantial challenge. They are busy with the needs of their response effort, don’t self-identify as leaders, and, often, both!

  • Rather than attempting to market services directly to SLs, it may be more effective to rely on local communities and response organizations for referrals to CCL’s materials and services.
  • CCL should leverage the training program to promote awareness of the value of Spontaneous Leaders and grassroots crisis efforts.

Fourth, CCL could provide or foster specific services of value to SLs. Most notably, help them,

  • Develop situational understanding and knowledge, especially understanding of crisis response practices and the resources that may be available.
  • Identify and develop connections to their broader community and support networks.
  • Operate in ways that foster legitimacy and credibility, so they can win the trust of those they seek to help, and those from whom they seek help.
  • Identify and find the professional services that they might need, e.g., legal, financial, marketing, and personal mental wellness services.

Finally, tailor service and materials delivery to accommodate the vastly differing needs and attentional resources of individual SLs. For example, provide materials and services in differing modes requiring varying levels of commitment,

  • Quick hit guidance consumable in minutes, such as simple one-page infographics and checklists.
  • In-depth materials consumable in sporadic bursts, such as a highly-curated, easily-navigated library of resources and references.
  • Ongoing support, such as peer support from other, possibly more experienced, SLs, expert mentors or coaching.

In conclusion

We have our work cut out for us!


Read more about the findings
Read the full report