At Cause4 we are very excited about the launch of the ‘Alice’ initiative. ‘Alice’, created by the think tank Meteos and the arts sustainability organisation Julie’s Bicycle, is building a group of people looking to confront, and find answers to, impending social and environmental concerns.
I had the pleasure of attending the launch event, a dinner attended by one hundred women of different ages and industries keen to discuss how to tackle ‘big’ issues. The key question we considered was ‘what leadership is needed to tackle these issues’? Historically it is rare for a conversation about leadership to start with women, and it was in this spirit approaching leadership in a novel way that the launch event was women-only. However, as Alice develops, it will not be closed to men.
What stood out for me was the set of leadership qualities the group decided ‘Alice’ should embody. At Cause4 we are always looking out for skills needed to effectively lead in the third sector and cultivating these qualities identified below provides a great starting point.
The women in the room agreed that the following qualities were essential:
The word ‘appropriate’ can cause concern when applied to leadership. It is associated with sticking with out-dated etiquette rather than doing what needs to be done. In fact, ‘appropriate’ is essential to good leadership. Actions need to reflect aims. It is perfectly possible that a low-key, well-calculated conversation is more effective in getting the public to notice something than causing public outcry. It depends on the circumstances.
- Group mentality
Leadership, especially in public spheres, gets a bad name because of self-focussed individuals and their drive for recognition. Setting aside the need for recognition better prepares leaders to take appropriate action because they are less likely to let vanity influence their consideration of what to do.
As a responsible leader you need to set up a system of accountability so that the people you lead know what you are doing and why. The group agreed that you are heading in the right direction if you have answers to the following questions:
‘Who gave you that power?’ ‘Whose rights do you exercise?’ ‘How are you accountable?’, ‘How do we get the power off you?’
Answers to these questions can quickly give a leader a sense of whether they are being responsible in leadership.
We at Cause4 are very excited to see how the Alice initiative develops.
If you would like to get involved, the group is building rapidly at https://confirmsubscription.com/h/y/50DD05433EF3A6BC.