With Christmas holidays almost here, charity leaders and our organisations are thinking about 2015. Whichever way you view it, it's going to be a specially eventful year. Events in Russia this week might prove even more dramatic that what a British General Election can offer, but we're facing our own profound disruption and uncertainty in politics at home. Two elections perhaps. And all alongside further funding cuts that guarantee a hard time for the third sector - our country's other social safety net. But despite the many problems for charity leaders, there are perhaps some opportunities to hit the 'reset button' on our relationships across Westminster.
If these times are to be turned into an opportunity that will demand great leadership. Of biblical proportions, one might say.
So I was grateful for some wise words from that wondeful ACEVO member Paul Martin, who leads the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester. Thought I'd share them with you!
- Leaders understand their role is to create the time and space for good people to do great things
- Leaders encourage contributions from everyone and realise; every day, front-line staff wrestle with organisational boundaries, absurdities, approvals, duplication, pomposity, clunky systems, bureaucracy and waste. They know more than you do.
- Leaders keep their group's energy level high; celebrate every success, no matter how minor. Organisational dynamicists talk of the aggregation of minor gains. Leaders know that means; every little helps.
- Leaders set clear objectives that everyone can recognise and be part of.
- Leaders are always doing an up-sum; 'this is where I think we are... what do you think?'
- Leaders can step back and become detached in times of difficulty.
- Leaders encourage openness; 'let's put all our cards on the table'.
- Leaders are loyal to their people no matter what goes wrong; the trick is to encourage openness; know about it, fix it and learn from it.
- Leaders recognise success and failure is only an expression of what works and what doesn't.
- Leaders recruit people who are better than them, step back and take the credit. They know the alternative is to recruit the rest and step forward and take the blame.