Sabbaticals are commonly seen as an employment perk in the academic world, but sabbaticals are gaining ground in the social service sector, as way to help both the nonprofit leaders and the organisation experience revitalisation and reinvigoration. There is a cluster of funders who are committed to the art of talent-focused grant making as a dynamic and innovative opportunity for growth and renewal of present and potential leadership, as well as that of the organisation.
The Practice of providing Civil Society Organisations Leaders the opportunity to step away from their organisations, on a sabbatical period is also known as creative disruption. On the part of the leader the sense of disruption can spark creativity, new perspectives on leadership, job longevity, greater confidence, and better relationships with staff, board and community as well as a new vision.
For the organisation the creative disruption can lead to improved governance, sharing of leadership and succession planning, as well as the organisation developing a new appreciation for their staff’s abilities. Leadership Sabbaticals can support the survival and performance of the organisation in a period that is characterised by the discontinuity of many nonprofits.
When it’s time to change trajectory? The stagnation of leaders and organisations decreases organisational effectiveness, negatively impacting on the population the organisations serves. The stagnation of leadership and organisations stifle the organisational culture, development, and progress and retards the ability of organisational and personal/professional growth. These organisations reflects limited innovation and disengaged employees. The routine and procedures of survival eclipse inquisitiveness and enablement. Stagnation in organisations happens when leaders become satisfied with the status quo or they are unable to impact on the status quo. Leaders can plateau, maintaining rather than developing, or moving forward. Many leaders are, due to various circumstances strong leaders – but are they inspiring leaders?
Revitalising inspiring Leaders
Great nonprofit organisations are driven by dedicated, passionate directors. These leaders give tirelessly of themselves to further the missions of their organisations. They inspire their boards, their staff, and the communities they serve.
You ensure inspiring and passionate leadership by revitalising your leader and developing or strengthening the leadership capacity throughout the organisation. The present Leadership should buy into the concept that leadership is ultimately about developing leaders. If they do this they practice true leadership – their impact is not limited to what they do when they are in the organisation, but what lasting impact they leave, through leaders they have developed - after they have gone. On the longer term the organisation benefits from a more innovative and sustainable leadership that has been developed across various levels of the organisation – from the leader, to the second line leadership to the Board of Management. If you revitalise the leadership on all levels, support and develop people within the organisation to meet ongoing and future needs, you will ensure support for the direction of the organisation. The Organisation, and leaders/management on all levels need support to prepare and handle the possible new order of things and be willing and able to welcome organisational change. Their emotional intelligence regarding aspects of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management will be enhanced and they will lead the organisation to reach and exceeds its purpose
Pauline Roux is Managing Partner at the Organisational Puzzle http://www.organisationalpuzzles.co.za/