One week from today we will be waking up to the announcement of a new Prime Minister. For months now, every news channel has been fixated on an endless cycle of questions around leadership. We've heard about the crisis of leadership in this country; about how the different models of leadership on offer across the political spectrum point to evidence of an increasingly divided society; and how our assumptions around what constitutes good leadership are being rewritten.
These debates present an interesting challenge to the social sector. What interests me is: what are the parallels for how leadership is perceived in our sector; what role can we play in finding common ground to unite the divisions in our society; and how can we inspire a new generation of leaders who can tackle the social challenges that lie ahead?
Today we have published a new report ‘Talking Leadership: a report of qualitative research into leadership development in the social sector’. Thanks to support from Barrow Cadbury Trust, we were able to speak to over 50 CEOs and senior leaders from charities and other organisations. We wanted to find out their views on leadership in the social sector and what their ideas were for how leadership development could help inspire generous and collaborative social leaders of the future.
They told us emphatically that effective leadership development is essential for creating the skills and relationships needed to address complex social challenges and forge a strong and effective social sector. Our conversations highlighted a belief that leadership development should be available to everyone – and not just those at the top.