Leaders of an organisation are often not just the CEO, Managing Director or one single person. If you manage people who in turn manage people, or if you have a senior level of responsibility for the organisation, then you are an organisational leader. Leaders in this category will often sit on a senior leadership team, a board or similar grouping and have clear direction setting and decision making responsibilities for key parts of the organisation.
At this level it is critical to have a clear understanding of the organisation at a strategic and operational level and a deep understanding of the teams for which you are responsible.
It is also important to understand the wider system in which your organisation operates, the political, economic, social and environmental context and how it influences the organisation. Being connected with peers in other organisations who are in a similar sector, who operate a similar business model etc. and being an active part of relevant networks is important, both for you to get support, learning and development as a leader and to collaborate, develop partnerships and to advocate for your organisation.
At the top level of leadership, you need to be able to set out a clear purpose for the organisation and demonstrate the social impact that it is designed to create. This includes clearly articulating the problem your organisation is set up to tackle, how it does this and how you know that it has the impact intended.
You need to create an inspiring vision of this social change and develop a strategic plan to execute it effectively. Then you need to be able to communicate that plan in a compelling way both externally and to your teams, as well as develop it into clear goals that will achieve the organisation’s objectives.
As an organisational leader, it is important to drive a developmental culture across the organisation, to ensure that it is continually developing and growing to meet needs. Change is a constant in any organisation and learning how to effectively manage change, conflict and crisis is important. At this level, it is also your responsibility to ensure that the organisation is being run effectively, which involves ensuring that effective processes, policies and procedures are in place and well implemented for areas such as governance, human resources, IT and infrastructure, finance etc.
People are at the heart of every organisation and to create sustainable ways of working and resilient teams, it is crucial for you to know, develop and support your people so that together you can deliver impact in a sustainable and fulfilling way.