The social sector is faced with a daunting challenge that it cannot ignore-chronic underinvestment in its leaders. In its recent publication Leveraging Social Sector Leadership Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley) has identified that the pronounced lack of leadership development capacity among social sector organizations provides philanthropy a significant leverage point to improve outcomes sector-wide.
But what is the most effective means for achieving this?-coaching, networking and training.
These resources would be structured as to develop the important leadership attributes of:
- Fostering Innovation
- Developing a Talented Team
- Becoming a Skilled Collaborator
- Managing to Outcomes and Pursuing Quality Improvement
- Placing Problem-Solving Above Individual or Organizational Needs
The Role of Philanthropy
Having leader-identified attributes defined, the question becomes: what role can philanthropy play in ensuring that these leadership development gaps are filled? According to the study, philanthropy can assist in the following ways:
- Focus investments on talent development and the talent pipeline
- Engage leaders as to enhance collaboration
- Inculcate the value of imagination that ensures leaders are attentive to whits space and blue sky
We have joined the ranks of those working in the social sector because at the most fundamental level we (individually and collectively) believe that we can make a difference and transform the landscape. This vision of the power of our engagement is tempered by our self-identified need for leadership development. The time is right for active and engaged conversations between the nonprofit and philanthropic communities on this matter particularly as we seek to engage a new generation of leaders and thoughtfully plan for succession.
As always, be focused on knowledge, innovation and impact!
John Patrick Bailey, Ph.D.