3.3. Meaningful Participation
In this module, you'll consider what a good participation experience might look like on your project and how to “level-up” or encourage contributors to gain new skills. You'll also reflect on why and how to share leadership with contributors.
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Meaningful Participation And Mentorship
How you invite participation from your community is the secret to your project’s success. Remember, you are working with volunteers who are contributing valuable time and energy to the project. As you saw in the Persona activity, you will need to work with them to find tasks that motivate them and connect to their skills and interests.
As an open leader, you cannot make demands or act like a boss. You are not telling contributors what to do for you or the project; you are entrusting them to follow through on work they want to own and supporting them in doing so. Delegation is about you sharing agency and ownership in your project with volunteers; it’s not about being fully in charge and making assignments for people without their agreement.
In the previous section on Personas and Pathways, you wrote a pathway that moves the user into a leadership role by the end. Distributing or sharing leadership among a few community members is a way to secure your project.
Distributed, shared leadership is a key element of open leadership. It requires that you intentionally hand off aspects of your project to trusted, capable people who have grown (and you have mentored) into that role. It means giving up some control of the project to your community members. This is difficult for many people to do– you may find it uncomfortable at first– but it will make your project stronger. Distributing leadership ensures that there are others who feel invested in the project and its survival and success over the long term. If there are times when you’re not able to put as much time as usual into the project, your co-leaders can step up and pitch in. If, eventually, you’d like to move on to other new and exciting projects, the contributors you’ve mentored can take over leading the projectnext: Write or Choose a Code of Conduct