News flash

September 17-23
Volunteer &
Online Access to Workshops

NYC Climate Week
Hybrid Workshops
September 23


Women Reclaiming Our Physical Power
Teresa Enrico
September 30 or
October 1

The Development of New Leadership

People begin Re-evaluation Counseling or come into the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities at many different levels of competence and experience. In spite of our increasing care in screening for our Fundamentals classes, we still find some students who take a long time to understand the effective use of Co-Counseling. They are drawn to the Community at first more because of the fellowship and warmth and the group activity which is open to them, rather than from any understanding of the theory. Sometimes these students sit in class and discharge only when everyone else is discharging. On occasion some have not Co-Counseled for more than a year. When these students create no problems and are not a drain on the resources of the rest of the class, they are welcome. We have enough experience to know that eventually they too will begin Co-Counseling and take the road to emergence that the rest of the Co-Counselors have taken.

Some Begin Slowly

Some other beginning Co-Counselors will seem to be concerned entirely with their own distresses and feel that they have to concentrate on these rather than take any interest in the broader applications of Re-evaluation Counseling as a philosophy or for social change. These people are welcome in our communities as well. It should be possible for any person who comes into Re-evaluation Counseling meeting the teacher’s screening criterion, that is, "someone that the teacher would be delighted to Co-Counsel with," to progress at their own speed. Many Co-Counselors need to "sit on the back burner," to go through the elementary theory many times, to discharge steadily for a long time. When they have solved the problems that preoccupy them at first they can (and will) spontaneously take an interest in the wider implications and activities of Re-evaluation Counseling.

Inactive Are Not Lost

Other beginning Co-Counselors quickly solve the problems they brought into Co-Counseling and appear to "drop out," satisfied and happy with the results but appearing to be uninterested in Co-Counseling further. This is certainly a correct use of Co-Counseling—to take your gains and use them in the world. (Actually, all these "inactive" Co-Counselors intend on some level to resume Co-Counseling at a later date or "when necessary" and consider themselves and should be considered by all of us as continuing members of our Communities.) We have no minimum level of activity that a Co-Counselor must meet to be considered a Community member. "Once a Co-Counselor, always a Co-Counselor."

Many Are Eager

Being clear on this, however, we also need to note that large numbers of Co-Counselors who have experienced any significant discharge and re-evaluation become permanently excited about the broad implications of Re-evaluation Counseling, wish to have a part in spreading the knowledge of Re-evaluation Counseling to other people, and look to the impact of Re-evaluation Counseling on the world for a good deal of the inspiration and meaning in their lives. There are thousands of Co-Counselors who would like to take a more active and a more leading role than they are doing at present in communicating Re-evaluation Counseling widely and assisting its permeation of society.

Leadership Needed

To realize this at this time coincides with some present realizations about the state of our Communities. Our Communities have grown explosively, have become remarkably stable, have developed fine teachers and Area Reference Persons in almost every case. Now, partly because of the growth, they are faced with some new problems for which new solutions must be found.

Some of our Communities have grown so large that there is no longer effective contact between the Area leadership and the individual Co-Counselors. Great variations also exist in the amount of effective contact between the individual teachers and the students who have taken or are taking classes from them.

The rate of development of new leaders has been very rapid in the early stages of most Communities, but once a stable leadership emerges and the Community is functioning well, some kind of an inhibiting effect tends to prevent the emergence of additional leaders (at least with the speed with which the first ones emerged). This does not imply any wrong actions on the part of the existing leadership or teachers. Some kind of cultural phenomenon exists here that inhibits the growth and development of additional leaders. It must be confronted, identified, and overcome.

Our Communities start with the general premise that we should have only as much structure as is actually needed to support and extend Co-Counseling and the activities that flow out of it. Some Communities have nevertheless developed strong structures with fixed jobs and roles and relationships. These have often been worked out very intelligently by old standards and have worked well compared to other organizations. Yet it is plain that some kind of identification with older organizations and older relationships has taken place and that these structures do not necessarily fit Re-evaluation Counseling needs well.

Advance New Leadership

We have, on the one hand, large numbers of people eager to be more active and effective in leading and communicating Re-evaluation Counseling activities and on the other hand a shortage of leaders of high caliber. We have at the present time perhaps a dozen Re-evaluation Counseling leaders who are so able and well-grounded that any one of them could be counted upon to re-found the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities and direct their spread throughout the world population if Re-evaluation Counseling ever had to start over. In terms of the world population and the world situation, at least a thousand such leaders are needed.

We need to think concretely of what steps we can take to multiply the numbers and effectiveness of our leadership.

Leadership Functions

Leaders are necessary in any human group activity. If more than two people attempt to work together, someone must lead or the activities will falter. The leadership may be intuitive, subtle, unrecognized, untitled, but at least one person in a group activity must assume the responsibility of thinking about the group and its goals and progress as a whole for such a group to function well. At least one leader is required, which means that there can be more than one. Theoretically, every member of a group could play this role of thinking carefully about the group as a whole, and such a group would be very successful. In practice, at least one must assume this stance. Even where a meeting leadership rotates from meeting to meeting, at least one person must think about the series of meetings and where the group is going as a whole, must think past the individual meeting leader’s concern as to how he or she can organize one good meeting or, again, patterns will eventually intrude, and the keen, purposeful direction of the activity will be lost.

An effective leader need not brandish a title. In some circumstances it is better that he or she does not. The most effective leader keeps his or her leadership unobtrusive and has many people carrying out leadership functions. Yet at least one individual human intelligence is needed to think about the group and its activities as a whole. This is a crucial function of leadership.

The job of the leader is not to do all the thinking for the people in the group which she or he leads, but rather to call forth, note and assemble the brilliant thinking from all members of the group. Even the most patterned of persons has some areas of knowledge, insights and keen thinking. The effective leader will draw on these resources from all the people that he or she leads, will put together the brilliant thoughts or fragments of thoughts which are furnished by others, and will add her or his own thinking to fill in the gaps. The leader’s job is to produce a complete and consistent program from the brilliant though sometimes fragmented thoughts of the people he or she listens to, and then communicate this integrated theory back to all the members of the group and secure their acceptance and their support for it. This is another key function of leadership.

Keep Standards High

We will be promoting hundreds and possibly thousands of Co-Counselors to be new teachers in the year or so ahead. These will not automatically be chosen from among those who insist they are ready to teach or lead and demand a chance to prove it. Sometimes the insistence is a pattern which will create trouble in leadership or teaching. We will also be looking for the good, responsible persons whose fears and self-doubts interfere with their eagerness to teach but who, if encouraged to teach, will discharge as they do so and emerge quickly to be fine teachers.

In boldly promoting large numbers of new people to teaching and other leadership positions, we cannot afford to give up the standards of rigor and correctness of theory and policy which we have striven to establish over the last two years. Our teachers and our leaders must understand Re-evaluation Counseling theory and must communicate it correctly, free from admixture of contradictory notions. Their lives must be good enough examples of rational living to communicate theory and the possibility of such practice to their students.

Without giving up rigor and care, it should still be possible to promote large numbers of sharp people much faster than we have in the past year.


The acceptable motivations for becoming leaders in Re-evaluation Counseling need to be looked at. The older group of leaders never had a chance to become confused about opportunism. There was simply no prestige or monetary rewards connected with Re-evaluation Counseling in the days of its development. It was all hard work and subsidizing the work out of one’s own pocket.

In recent years, however, Re-evaluation Counseling has come to new areas as a movement of great prestige, with a devoted following, whose workshops are always packed, whose teachers and leaders are obviously trusted and supported by large numbers of people.

This has misled a few individuals into concluding that leadership in Re-evaluation Counseling could be a way to achieve "instant professionalism"for themselves without hard work, or a way to achieve a large income for themselves by taking advantage of the popularity of Co-Counseling, or an opportunity to build a little "empire" of Co-Counselors where their "authority" would be unquestioned. Since these motivations were often concealed, a very, very few of these individuals temporarily assumed leadership in Re-evaluation Counseling Communities. Some of them, with a little prompting, accepted a direction against the patterned motivations, discharged sufficiently, and found rational motivations to become and remain effective leaders. Others are no longer in leadership.

There are rewards in being a teacher or leader of Re-evaluation Counseling. It is of great assistance in one’s own re-emergence. To awarely attempt to be a model of rationality for others is to subject one’s patterns to severe contradiction and speed up their demise.

It is also rewarding to associate with other leaders in the common effort. To communicate and work with peers who are assuming responsibility and leadership equal to your own is to share a precious fellowship.

The basic reward must be, however, the consciousness of being effective in a meaningful effort. What we are doing matters in the most profound sense. Our lives have meaning. What matters, as the modern Chinese would say, is to "serve the people."

A young Co-Counselor said to me recently, in a moment of insight, "Once you understand the difference, who would want to spend their lives any other way than in making things right for everybody?"

No Unnecessary Structures

We must reinstate critical thinking against unnecessary structures in our Communities. We have put forth a correct principle since the beginning that we would set up only those structures which directly fulfilled our needs. Old patterns die hard, however, and fairly elaborate structures which are in themselves time-consuming and give little support to Co-Counseling have arisen in some Areas. To dismantle these unnecessary features without disrupting the Community involved will take thought and skill.

It seems probable that no Area Community should grow much beyond 200 Co-Counselors in number (perhaps 100 is a better figure) before it divides into sub-Area Communities. It seems equally probable that no sub-Area should long exist without being assisted to grow in both leadership and numbers to where it can become an independent Area Community.

Growth, Not Slot-filling

We have searched for competent people to perform the various leadership functions which our Communities need. We have tended to feel delighted at having found "an editor" of an Area newsletter, for example. Our competent Area Reference Persons seem to "settle into" their jobs, and various other functionaries also.

I think that a "slot-filling" attitude has tended to creep over and obscure the "people-developing" attitude with which we began to think about leadership for our Communities three years ago. This is understandable but unacceptable.

Strength In Competence

It is time that we awarely realize that the strength of our Community lies not in structure but in competent people. Perhaps we should ask people in the future to take leadership jobs only until they have mastered the skills involved in that particular job and then encourage them to move on to other functions so they can learn to become all-around leaders of Re-evaluation Counseling. Can we say to each leader on every level, "As soon as you have mastered this job and have trained someone to do it as well as you did when you started, we have a more challenging and interesting job waiting for you"?

Should any experienced assistant teacher who understands and supports the theory and the Guidelines and whose observable chronic patterns threaten no scandal to the Communities, and who wishes to teach, be encouraged to do so as soon as he or she finds students outside the present members of the Community?

Shall we propose to our teachers that each must use one or two teaching assistants, that they train these to be teachers, and, if the assistants they have are not ready to be so trained because they need more time for Co-Counseling, that they yield the place as assistant to another promising person?

Shall we ask any Area which lacks an Alternate Area Reference Person to think and move on the question until one is decided upon and accepts the job? Shall we require that the Alternate Area Reference Person share in leadership responsibilities from the beginning and plan that the Reference Person and the Alternate exchange jobs for a "second term," after which, unless the Area is divided by that time into two or more new Areas, the former, more experienced, Area Reference Person assumes other important jobs for the Community, or outside the Community, in outreach, or in permeating the larger society with the ideas and philosophy of Re-evaluation Counseling?

Harvey Jackins

Upward Trend, page 99

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00