Raising the bar of leadership excellence

ACEVO’s new leadership competencies have led to a framework for the skills involved in motivating, leading and inspiring others. Rita Neligan Medcalf and Kevin Downsworth from ACEVO’s leadership development partners First Position, explain how it works

Which leadership skills and competencies are needed to ensure the wellbeing and sustainability of social sector organisations? There is no simple answer as the sector is as diverse and complex as the legislation and regulations governing it. Civil society organisations support causes ranging from animal rescue to safe housing; they could have employees and volunteers numbering in the thousands or just a handful. Despite the differences, there is one thing that remains a constant: leadership matters.

ACEVO believes in excellent leadership and over the past year has engaged with members to agree on six competency statements which paint a picture of the leaders who will take the sector forward.

Hexagon Framework

As ACEVO’s leadership development partners we were delighted to be invited to continue this work and translate these broad statements into a specific leadership competency framework. The new matrix builds on our extensive knowledge and experience of managing 360° reviews and our work with ACEVO over the past decade.

The framework places particular emphasis on the inter and intra-personal skills involved in motivating, leading and inspiring others. It goes further than many skills matrices in that it:

  • breaks each competency down into specific observable behaviours giving measurable evaluation criteria,
  • identifies a set of contra behaviours for each competency,
  • groups sets of behaviours across the different levels of leadership from self-leadership, through operational/team leadership, to strategic/organisational and leading the sector,
  • is supported by a 360° review tool to ensure that there is a consistency of leadership development across the sector.

This framework will be at the centre of ACEVO’s leadership development initiatives such as the Coaching for Excellence Programme and the Emerging Leaders Programme.

As well as being an integral part of other initiatives, the new 360° review is also available as a standalone tool for ACEVO members.  If you have used 360° appraisals before you will know the benefits already. A well-managed process provides a safe, confidential, and reliable way for colleagues and those you connect with to provide feedback on your performance, on what you do and how you do it.

A confidential 360° review process is particularly valuable for senior managers and leaders as it is often the case that as people progress in an organisation, the occurrence and opportunity for candid feedback from colleagues diminishes. While your respondents’ feedback isn’t a perfect indicator of the ‘truth’, their perceptions provide valuable input and potential rich insights to support your personal development and impact.

Management teams can gain added value from undertaking a 360° leadership review as a team. This gives them a common framework and standard of excellence to move towards, establishes a shared language for discussing their capabilities, can help inform their team and organisation development planning and assist in creating a culture of openness and trust.

If you want to find out more about ACEVO’s 360° review process please get in touch

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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