Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders

The innovative Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD) training is the result of the long-standing partnership between ECES and the Center for Creative Leadership - Leadership Beyond Boundaries (CCL-LBB). In particular, building on his vast experience in the electoral assistance field, Fabio Bargiacchi, ECES’ Executive Director, while attending the CCL’s “Leadership Development Program” in San Diego in August 2009, identified the need for capacity-building training to enhance capacities in the crossroads between leadership and conflict management.

The overall objective of this five-day workshop is to look into ways in which representatives of electoral stakeholders, namely representatives of EMBs, non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), political parties, academics and practitioners can improve their leadership skills and take on board means for preventing and/or mitigating the escalation of electoral violence and conflict throughout the respective electoral cycle.

LEAD is a flexible learning tool that is customised according to the specific context and target group. It provides participants with the resources and skills needed to replicate the training and thus guarantee its sustainability. LEAD uses adult education techniques with a value-based approach. Instead of relying on conventional teaching methods such as lecturing, LEAD is activity-based and focuses on practical problem solving of the real-time challenges that electoral stakeholders are faced with.

LEAD makes wide use of the specific experiences, knowledge and exchanges among the electoral stakeholders participating. The methodology reflects the case that participants are faced with, hence training sessions that are of direct relevance to them and are delivered in a creative manner. The experiences and knowledge of the participants, as well as the exchanges among them, develop capacities on the intersection between the participants’ experience, knowledge and exchange. By promoting a hands-on and interactive learning experience, LEAD encourages participants to think outside the box in order to bring creative and innovating ideas to the table.

Perhaps the strongest aspect of the LEAD methodology is the way it promotes knowledge dissemination as a built-in element in the training. By using the Training of Trainers (ToT) component, a pool of semi-certified LEAD trainers is established at first. Participants reach the level of semi-certification after having successfully completed the entire LEAD ToT. Semi-certified LEAD trainers must facilitate a LEAD cascade training to accumulate experience in carrying LEAD training independently. Once a semi-certified trainer has facilitated a LEAD cascade in a satisfactory manner, together with a certifying LEAD trainer, the semi-certified trainer becomes certified. It is required that the certified LEAD trainer facilitates three LEAD cascade workshops and at least one Lead ToT in order to become certifying. This means, the certifying LEAD trainer can certify those who are semi-certified.