Friday 12 October 2012

Leadership; where going?

We know leadership development matters. And it matters crucially for CEOs. That's why Acevo has from the very start offered development opportunities for our members.

The Cabinet Office has appointed Dame Mary Marsh to oversee a review into leadership and skills in the voluntary sector. Mary was an Acevo member when she ran the NSPCC.

I am delighted I will be joining Mary on the working group in looking at leadership issues as they affect those right at the top of organisations- their CEOs and Chairs.

Worryingly, there are strong signs that leadership developement among CEOs is in real decline. Perhaps not surprising when finances are tight and time has to be spent protecting the mission and th role of thr organisation against less money and more demand.

Many CEOs are telling us that they no longer put aside money for leadership development. So how do we meet the challenge of doing this with less resource? I've noticed that the need for one to one support has not diminished. Our helpline advisory services and our mentoring and support offers are still in demand. Perhaps this means looking more closely at how to support CEOs through mentoring?

In times of trouble leadership development becomes more important not less, yet all development providers report a fall in demand. So what do we do? In these times I doubt more courses or residentails will work. We need to look at other ways to support our members. New technology perhaps? Better materials. Shorter seminar type events( we do a lot of these in acevo). But of course there is now less government funding for umbrella bodies in the sector to offer this kind of subsidised/free support. And frankly fundraising to support CEO development is practically non existent.

One thing is for sure- the days when it was assumed all the leadership skills were located in the private sector is long gone. We do not need patronising. Indeed , a pity the likes of Bob Diamond was not been mentored by a third sector CEO!

  Stephen Bubb

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