Social Leadership

Good leadership is essential for social change

21st century social challenges require leaders who can meet the trials of a changing world.

Everyone is a leader

Leadership is not restricted to those with a manager title, it’s for formal and informal leaders alike. The truth about leadership is that we're all doing it, but we're not all doing it to our full potential.

Leadership development is a lifelong journey

As our teams, organisations and challenges change, we need to change and evolve with them in order to have the impact we want to see. Social Leadership is a set of skills and behaviours we can all develop.

Leaders grow leaders

By collaborating, supporting and challenging one another, leaders can have a collective impact across the social sector.

The six capabilities of social leadership

Being a social and ethical leader require certain capabilities. The Social Leaders' Capabilities Framework outlines the attributes, behaviours and skills required for successful social sector leadership. The Capabilities Framework illustrates how and what these skills and behaviours look like in action. Having a framework enables leaders to reflect and assess their current skills. It empowers them to identify leadership gaps and plan their personal and professional development.

  • Inspirational Communicator

    • Relates to others with authenticity
    • Influential and confident
    • Clear expression of mission and values
    • Agile, able to modify approach and reframe based on feedback
  • Empowering Enabler

    • Empowers others to take on new challenges and training
    • Role model to others, pursues continuous self development
    • Cultivates an environment where others can excel
    • Exhibits a growth mindset, with a readiness to learn
  • Focused Strategist

    • Continuously seeks organisational improvement for the people they serve
    • Reflective and utilises complex information
    • Delivers on outcomes
    • Resourceful and strategic, considers wider systems and context
  • Passionate Advocate

    • Cause passionate, committed to the mission and people they serve
    • Strong moral compass
    • Wide civic responsibility, engages in debate and activities
    • Looks within and beyond sector to find solutions for social change
  • Generous Collaborator

    • Establishes and grows collaborative partnerships and relationships
    • Generously shares information, assets and time
    • Builds trust through seeking and giving feedback
    • Invites inclusive contribution, valuing skills and knowledge, respecting diversity
  • Courageous Change Maker

    • Courageous and drives change
    • Responsible risk taker
    • Develops innovative solutions with and through others
    • Curious, has foresight and asks why

Leadership Development Model

  • Know yourself, be yourself, look after yourself

    Leadership development must start with self-awareness. The most successful leaders critically assess their strengths, weaknesses, motivations and values. Leadership is tough, so it is also important to build physical and emotional resilience, and look after their own wellbeing so they can respond effectively to leadership challenges.

  • Assess & sense context

    Social sector ‘systems’ are rapidly changing. We live in a dynamic world that is transforming our workplaces, politics, ethics and communities. To meet these demands, social leaders need to understand the complexities of changing systems. They must also be aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead to steer their teams and organisations, and make the most of what these changes offer.

  • Work with & through others

    No leader exists or succeeds in isolation. Social skills and empathy are required to inspire, motivate and empower others, whilst respecting diversity and celebrating the power that difference brings. Working with and through others involves collaborating, forming partnerships, as well as inspiring and growing other leaders, all while making a positive social impact.

  • Governance, organisational capability & impact

    Social leaders need to be able to build the relationships and infrastructure that are the conditions for others to create sustainable social impact. High-quality governance involves a clear vision for change and a culture of accountability to drive its delivery. Effective organisational capability provides the systems, structures and processes that support and sustain effective delivery. And robust impact culture ensures great dialogues about learning and improvement, to maximise prospects of creating impact for beneficiaries.
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Formal, social and experiential learning.

Our approach to learning and development is iterative. This means that participants go through the learning cycle, reflecting on how it went, sharing with the group and then applying the lessons for the next cycle.

In their research, Centre of Creative Leadership shows the most effective leadership development happens according a 10-20-70 ratio.

10% is formal learning, coursework and training
20% is social learning, developmental relationships
70% is experiential learning, real world practice and challenging assignments

Our online, face to face and blended programmes and courses incorporate different ways of learning for an engaging and effective learning experiences.

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