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NFP Leadership - Make or Break?


17 October 2005 at 1:10 pm
Staff Reporter
There's a long list of personal and professional qualities that make for a good leader in the NFP sector but an equally long list of traits that can result in failure according to experts at the International philanthropy Australia Conference.

Staff Reporter | 17 October 2005 at 1:10 pm


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NFP Leadership - Make or Break?
17 October 2005 at 1:10 pm

There’s a long list of personal and professional qualities that make for a good leader in the NFP sector but an equally long list of traits that can result in failure according to experts at the International philanthropy Australia Conference.

Peter Winneke, the General Manager of the Myer Foundation Philanthropic Services told the conference that there are eight qualities that make a leader – vision, passion, integrity, the ability to inspire, good communication, courage and collaboration.

He says recognising leaders is easy but measuring their success is more illusive. But being a leader is not rocket science but rather self-awareness.

Unfortunately he says there are few real leaders within the NFP sector, explaining that managers must be coaches not bosses and that in the NFP sector they are obliged to lead to allow organisations to fly!

To do this Winneke says the culture of organisations need to change to encourage leadership in all areas.

Executive headhunter, Neil Waters from Egon Zehnder International went on to describe what he believes are some awful and tragic examples of poor leadership within the sector listing them as managerial ‘traps’.

These are:

– Myopic managers who are unable to see anything that is even on the periphery of their cause.

– A complete lack of financial literacy despite living on the knife-edge of financial arrangements

– An inability to listen to another point of view and

– A lack of strategic acumen.

Neil Waters says there are a number of questions that managers/leaders should ask themselves and answer honestly to maintain success.

Are you doing everything you can to promote your cause?

Do you have a clear agenda for the next 3 years, one year and one month?

(Are you on track for the last 3 years, one-year or one month?)

Do you have a strong board that operates well and pushes the envelope?

Are you proud of your team, its commitment and capabilities?

Do you know your cash and operating position today?

How well do you know your peers and competitors in the sector?

Tim James from UBS Wealth Management told the conference that there are restricting factors in promoting leaders in the NFP sector.

He says overall the sector lacks vocal champions of philanthropy both within government and society generally.

He says politicians appear to be too busy to get involved, possibly view philanthropy as a limited vote winner and perhaps see a conflict of interest.

In society, James says where he tall poppy syndrome abounds and media coverage focuses on cynicism and controversy, it is equally difficult to promote philanthropy.

James says NFP leaders are needed to reduce the fragmentation and duplications within the sector and to improve efficiencies.

He says there needs to be more risk takers particularly in the area of financial investments and while many established managers are reluctant to self promote, they must lead by example.

The Leadership discussion was led by Andrew Lawson from the Geelong Community Foundation.



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