Whilst there is a huge literature on leadership, ranging from academic theories to ‘how-I-did-it’ books by business leaders, there is a comparatively small literature on leadership in the nonprofit sector.
Three topics are common to much of the material:
- Content – what leaders decide to do
- Process – how leaders decide to do it
- Behaviour – how leaders conduct themselves.
One of the characteristics of any leadership role, and particularly that of the Chief Executive, is the wide range of actions they can take and the huge choice they have over how they use their time. Choosing what to do, when to do it, how to do it and who to consult about it are all critical decisions that leaders have to make.
In nonprofit organisations the pressures on leaders are particularly acute, because they often have a large number of stakeholders – all of whom want some of the leader‘s time. The pressures are greatest in organisations with national and international reach, in rapidly growing organisations and those that campaign as well as delivering services.
More on Leadership
Quick Reminders about Leadership.
Key Relationships CEOs Manage.
Characteristics of Effective CEO‘s.
Five Skills for Effective Directors.
Books on Leadership
Leaders Who Make A Difference – Essential Strategies for Meeting the Nonprofit Challenge
Burt Nanus and Stephen Dobbs, Jossey Bass, 1999
ISBN: 0 7879 4665 6
This US book is one of the few that focus on the leadership of nonprofit organisations. It describes special challenges that leaders face and has a chapter on each of the six key roles that effective leaders play- Visionary, Strategist, Change Agent, Coach, Politician and Fundraiser
The propositions transfer easily to other countries, which is fortunate as we are not aware of an equivalent book in the UK.
It’s Tough at the Top – How Public and Nonprofit Managers can bring out the best in themselves and their organizations.
Debra Allcock Tyler, DSC
ISBN 1 9039 9169 2
Many people find themselves in a senior director or chief executive role without receiving much training or guidance about what leadership means at that level.
This book features top tip[s from respected leaders across the sector and each chapter includes critical does and don’ts
Many books will will tell you what to do; this one also tells you how to do it.
Websites on Leadership
Leader to Leader Institute
The Leader to Leader Institute exists to strengthen the leadership of the social sector. Based in New York, its web site contains a wide range of materials on leadership and related issues. Articles from past issues of Leader to Leader its award winning journal can be downloaded.
Articles on Leadership
Performance Improvement through Passionate Leadership
A case study of a major UK charity
The case study follows an 18 month programme of leadership development for senior managers in Age Concern. Compass carried out the initial assessment of leadership development needs. The case study describes the ensuing programme and how Age Concern measured improvements in six dimensions of leadership.
Chapters on Leadership
Managing Without Profit
Mike Hudson, Directory of Social Change, 2009
Chapter 14 Leading an organisation
This chapter sets out the different roles of Chief Executives, Divisional Directors and Managers and how each should set about honing their skills for these very different roles.
Managing at the Leading Edge
Mike Hudson, Directory of Social Change, 2003
Chapter 6 Leading with Integrity
This chapter sets out the learning from Mike’s research in the US, reporting on the approaches and behaviours that Chief Executives of nonprofit organisations believe to be important to their long term success.
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Last updated: December 2012