Good Third Sector Leadership

In continuously challenging times - how do we lead third sector organisations;

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I recently read an article in the HSJ - from a retiring NHS manager talking about how looking back she identified herself as a bully. This had never been her intention or desire but that she wanted to start an open conversation about it, she cited research around the prevalence of bullying when those who hold power feel powerless and are being made to implement changes that are coming from above. (You can read the full article here). It struck me that how often this is also the case for third sector organisations - stuck feeling powerless with the limitations on budgets, increased need and a desire to see change - so we wanted to start a discussion about good leadership in difficult times:

Failure to find success? 

Looking at for profit best practice, there is an interesting example from Jeff Bezo (Amazon) talks about the need for failure within organisations. For many Third Sector Organisations, risking failure doesn't seem a viable option - there is too much riding on the work you are already doing - but is there scope and space here for working more closely with social enterprises and their ability to be more flexible in their approach - take a look at Chatterbox - a social enterprise taking refugees and using their skills to teach languages online. 

So what factors should organisations look to have in place? 

Transparency: A key factor for success as a leader is around transparency - take a look at this article  from Civil Society with tips are how you can be a transparent third sector organisation. 

Moving to operational oversight Very often the those who are there to lead find themselves picking up the pieces, emptying bins, thanking volunteers etc this can cause them to loose track of their operational oversight. This article, provides  insight into managing this transition.

Encouraging others  there is this article about laying the groundwork for excellence to flourish in others, and taking a more pragmatic approach to leadership. 

Having a strong charismatic leadership in place can help to drive third sector organisations forward - we can all think of examples of charities large and small that are driven to exist through the force of will by those in leadership - but thinking about how we can utilise that, how you create a movement -take a look at this Ted talk by Derek Sivers  - that it's the actions of the first follower which are most important. Leaders can be found in all different places within an organisation but that the leadership is in recognising what the potential is and helping that to happen. 

Sophy HallamHarland Works