Advocates for Sociocracy in Intentional Communities 2023! Community Mindedness

The Advocates for Sociocracy in Intentional Communities group recently had its first gathering in 2023 and the broad issue of community-mindedness came up.

We started with a practical question about how our communities manage our General Circles; who creates the agendas, who facilitates, who leads? The question was prompted, in part, by a desire for more leadership within community. This led us to a discussion about leadership, defined broadly as a sense of responsibility, motivation, and proactive support among community members; and it being distributed throughout membership, rather than centered in a few “official” people.

Here are some of our ideas about how we might invite community-mindedness and, as a consequence, leadership:

Start a monthly full circle meeting: ask the community what they are passionate about.

Ask “what are the values of our community?” Define who we are and what we want to do together. Leadership, energy, and enthusiasm in community are invited through shared values.

Assure that our vision and mission are expressed concretely in our aims: tangible, concrete, specific.
Would it be helpful to go back to the community’s vision, mission and aim and refresh them?

Note that leadership can emerge from the community’s clarity of vision - this as an alternative to using leadership as a way to build community mindedness.

Overfunctioning in one place can lead to underfunctioning in others: If, as a leader, you’ve been “carrying the ball” for a long time how might you refresh connections with others?

How does your community develop and support active participation and leadership among your members? Please share your thoughts here. And consider joining us at the next Advocates meeting on Monday, February 13th. Write to for more information.
Hoping to see you there!


Thank you for this succinct, yet complete summary of one of the last Advocates meeting topics, Dem. It was a rich discussion, indeed.

I think Intentional Communities face challenges around inclusion and leadership that are different, and in some ways, greater, than those that arise in non-residential organizations.

Intentional Communities that use sociocratic self-governance generally include many people who are on the “community circle”, but who do not hold a role on a decision-making circle or team. In our early “forming” stage, my community used to require that every member be a part of least one operational work circle, but over time our culture changed. We now have many people who are not deeply engaged in any circle and a few people who hold roles on multiple circles.

In a non-profit business, everyone is part of a least one team, or department: There are no members or employees who have no organizational role. Not so in ICs. To my mind, this situation really underscores the importance of hosting regular whole community discussions of what community means to each person and what cultivates a broad sense of belonging that touches as many members as possible.

It also seems to be that inclusive feedback processes are vital–those impacted by policy must have opportunities to provide meaningful feedback that is integrated into actual draft proposal adaption, whether or not the person offering the feedback has a role on the consenting circle. The pandemic–and attendant rules around masking—revealed deep divisions in our community’s acceptance of the authority of those who made decisions about compliance with masking rules that were not followed.

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This is an issue I’m interested in, as well.

I guess “community” is related to another idea, that of “connection.” I think that proper mutual connections between members could transform o group of people into an authentic community.

I am interested how important is this dimension in the Intentional Communities and what is your strategy to strengthen the network of human connections in the community outside of operational responsibilities and activities.

Yes, I’m very interested to learn how other people practice sociocracy, and IC could be a source of inspiration for me.

Another issue I’m interested in is what are you doing to help members feel important? Is this an important dimension in an IC community, or not?

I would like to participate as a guest in some of your IC meeting because I am interested to learn from you. I don’t know what is your policy about having guests in your meetings, but if possible, please take this into consideration.

I sustain you in “bringing the skill of self-governance into every corner of society”.

Your friend,
because I care

Thanks for sharing your interest in the Advocates Community of Practice, Adrian. I will ask the group to consider this. You might like to watch this video from the 2022 Sociocracy In Intentional Communities Conference. It offers an example of what an Advocates Community of Practice gathering is like.

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Thank you, Dem. I’m glad to remember. I recommend this video to anybody interested to find more about how people practice sociocracy.