News and events

News from Cass Business School

Charities should be investing in their leadership teams

New report highlights five drivers for change.

A third of charity chief executives rate their leadership teams as 'only quite effective'.

Investment in team development is essential to achieving organisational aims.

So says a new report based on a review of the leadership teams of the UK's top 500 charities.

The study was conducted by the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness (Cass CCE) and the Compass Partnership.

The review recognises that initiating investment into team development can be difficult.

However the authors insist investment is essential for creating opportunities to improve team performance.

Without addressing internal development issues, nonprofit leadership teams are often unable to tackle larger organisational challenges.

The review recommends 20 essential drivers necessary for developing outstanding leadership teams and enhancing group performance, grouped into five themes:

  • Leadership of behaviour: being seen to model behaviours, acting as a team, communicating well with managers and nurturing stakeholders systemically
  • Great team working: valuing each other and personal differences, working as a cohesive group, being open about mistakes and good at compromising
  • Effective team meetings: requiring members to listen and use each other's talents
  • Leadership of strategy and impact: being clear about strategy, being good at tracking the achievement of strategic objectives and maintaining a sharp focus on strategic issues
  • Investment in team development: time for team development, reviewing honestly their own performance and planning the improvement of team performance.

A quarter of charities surveyed had seven or fewer of these 20 drivers in place.

Denise Fellows, Director of Cass CCE Consultancy, comments:

"Research shows that effective leadership teams drive performance. CEOs of charities have expressed frustration at the unwillingness of their boards to allow investment in senior leadership team development. We hope the results of this report will demonstrate both the need and help identify the areas where development interventions will best lead to enhanced performance."

The Compass Cass Model of outstanding leadership team performance.

Order the report.

Share this article