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Interview with Lee Warren on Relational Leadership

Transcript on Interview with Lee Warren on Relational Leadership

Courtney Brooke:

Hi, folks.

It’s Courtney Brooke of Earthaven EcoVillage.

And I’m here with dear friend Lee Warren, who is here to talk with us about a beautiful upcoming offering that she has called Relational Leadership.

What is the subtitle?

Lee Warren:

The subtitle is “A New Paradigm Approach to Team Building and Organizational Success.”

Courtney Brooke:


Relational Leadership, a new paradigm approach to team building and organizational success.

And I can say from experience I’ve had quite a bit of experience in team building and organizational projects, and I am always learning from Lee.

So I’m really excited that this is being offered through the School of Integrated Living.

So we could you tell us a little bit more about what relational leadership is?

Lee Warren:


Hey, I’m happy to be here with you.

And relational leadership means in pioneering new ways of working together. Sort of The central tenant is trust.

We’re moving away from hierarchical structures and moving towards these emergent systems that use collaboration, equity, inclusivity, and mutually beneficial models of relating.

So for me, it always comes back to how trusting in my feeling of this team.

And if I’m not, how can I adjust that?

So both the end goal and the process in relational leadership is to get to really high satisfaction, really high performance teams. And we all want to live in a world where our work and our projects and our movements are even more satisfying than we can imagine.

So relational leadership is all about creating that sort of rich and rewarding engagement.

Courtney Brooke:


And when you say new paradigm teams, what is that talking about? So new paradigm teams are the future.


Lee Warren:

We’ve heard so much about how dismantling some old structures, like the 40 hour work week or always being in the office or sitting in cubicles, or only bringing one aspect of ourselves to the job is actually counter to creativity.


We’ve seen. So Google and other sort of forward thinking organizations pioneer this kind of work. The idea of doing work from home or bringing play into the workplace or having onsite child care. So our lives are more integrated or redesigning our office spaces or rethinking our organizational charts, things that actually bring humans alive. It’s not only best for the bottom line, but it makes everyone happier and healthier and wealthier.

So it’s like the best of the win win win.

And how I like to think about it is, can you imagine a workplace that has honest communication, collective problem solving, transparency, and a strong sense of we’re in this together? Like, that’s the ultimate place to be, in my opinion, in a workplace environment.

Courtney Brooke:



Really bringing the vitality back into the things that we care about and bringing our whole selves to work.

I love that.

So could you tell the listeners a little bit about, like, who are you and why would we want to be learning from you about these things?

Lee Warren:




So, Malcolm Gladwell is the author of Blink and Outliers. He talks about how anything cognitively complex. It takes about 10,000 hours to get good at it. So 10,000 hours is about four hours a day for 10 years. And I’ve been living in a place called Earthaven EcoVillage for 20 years. And before that, I was in another land based community for five years. And within that span of time, and even before that, I have been in nothing but cooperative teams. I sort of swim in the ocean of cooperative culture. So I ran a cooperative farm for 12 years. I built a cohousing neighborhood with four other folks that still exist and have grown to 20 plus residents. After almost 20 years, I worked on a team of women who put together a large conference in the Southeast for 10 years. I ran a sustainable agriculture nonprofit as the executive director for seven years, and all of these teams were thoroughly collaborative and had very high levels of trust. And at this point, I figure I’ve bought about 30,000 hours of relationship and cooperative team buildings under my belt. So I don’t come with any big degrees or certificates, but I come with some significant experience and some really clear direction of what I like and actually sort of a model or a system of a recipe, so to speak of how to actually create it.

Courtney Brooke:

Wow. What a wealth.

So can you give us a little bit of the rundown of what the workshop will look like and what are some things we’re going to walk away with?

Lee Warren:


I really think that experiential learning is the way that adults integrate new material. And so we will sort of have this two hours together, and we’re going to be doing dynamic discussion, one on one dialogue, classmate engagement, takeaway exercises, and really I want… my intention is for folks to build a toolkit to enhance their already existing tool kit and to build skills. So we start out with this idea of envision a time when you had a working relationship where it was defined by high levels of trust. And what did that feel like and look like in your world? And then subsequently talk about a work relationship that had low levels of trust and what did that look and feel like?

And then we’re going to sort of go through some different components. I have this sort of whole pyramid of things that happen to create relational leadership. And one component is building a layer of solid, transparent participatory groundwork through clear agreements. What I’m calling guiding document. Other components, including include understanding human motivation and how to include our whole selves in the work experience.

Other pieces are defining our values, our expectations, and how we want to be together. So actually creating relational contracts, and then there’s things in the organization that help us stay connected to each other, give each other feedback, and build an ongoing flow of trust and good will.

And ultimately, I’m hoping that everyone can do all of these things to get to the point where we create joy, connection, fund, belonging aliveness and effectiveness in our work.

Courtney Brooke:


So this is a two hour offering.

It is. Is that what I understand? Wow.

There’s a lot to come out of it, what we’re offering.

Yeah. What a treat.


And how can people get involved?

What is the pathway?

Lee Warren:

So they can go to the or, where this workshop is being offered. And just a little bit about who it’s for.

I think that it’s best really, for folks who’ve done some conscious leadership, right. Who’s done some consciousness raising in their own lives, and who had some experience at leadership. So whether they’re in the nonprofit business, corporate, NGO, or government sector doesn’t really matter. But anyone who’s part of a team, anyone who manages people project groups or organizations. And it really doesn’t matter if they’re new to leadership or long term, but they have to have a sense of organizational framework and also of trying to make life better through consciousness raising practices.

So, Yeah, go to those websites and find out more. It’s upcoming this year a couple of times.

Courtney Brooke:

So thank you so much, Lee.

And if you want to know more about Earthaven Ecovillage, we offer tours every Saturday, public stores and offer also virtual tours once a month.

And you can find more information at about this offering and upcoming offering.

And also join our newsletter to stay in tune with other offerings that are coming out.

And to just get a flavor of who we are and how we are, have a beautiful day.

Thank you so much.


collaboration, cooperation, high performance, high satisfaction, new paradigm teams, relational leadership, trust

Lee Warren

Lee Warren is reclaiming wisdom through conscious relating with self, land, and others. She has 25 years of experience envisioning, designing, and living innovative solutions to mutually empowered relationships, land-based food systems, residential community, non-violent communication, and sustainability education. She is the principle and founder of Reclaiming Wisdom, a co-founder of SOIL, School of Integrated Living, and a proponent of regenerative systems, consent culture, and authentic living. Lee is a writer, teacher, and activist, with an passion for embodiment practices, rural wisdom, sustainable economics, conscious dying, and community of all kinds.

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