That leadership conversation you haven’t had yet

By Servane Mouazan


‘A ten-year plan is absurd. A ten-year commitment is precisely what’s required if you want to be sure to make an impact’ Seth Godin

 In our #5Pillars series, we are highlighting elements of the roadmap that make women in social enterprises succeed and more likely to deliver. But success is not just about impacting positively upon your immediate beneficiaries, or clients, it also means paving the way for future generations. It’s about triggering lasting change, shifting attitudes, and accepting that eventually your social enterprise should be made redundant. You are working 24/7 to make yourself disappear.

So how can you define successful leadership in this context? What strategies do you need to singlemindedly promote your cause whilst also engaging with the rest of the world?

How can you talk about your achievements whilst staying humble and acknowledging that you are only been contributing a part to the solution, not solving it all? Or not yet, at least.

How can you align your actions during the day, with what is going through your head, and your actions in private?

It seems to me that “perfect leadership” is a thing for super humans - and perfecting it is  never going to be a finished job.

You have probably read hundreds of articles, assessed your leadership style, attended dozens of workshops and talks with thought leaders and discovered what is most suited to leading your organization. I won’t go over this old ground again.

So instead, on your way to solving people’s and the planet’s problems, I am going to ask you some questions.

You will need to fill in the blanks first. And activate this scenario as soon as you have finished.

The Questions

Knowing that you are working in the field of… and the current constraints around this theme are predominantly (select practical examples) …, …, and … (and these don’t seem to go away), what would you (you, your team, your family, society) need to continue doing, or start doing more of, to make the situation even worse? 

Answer here: …

Reflecting on what you would need to do to sabotage the situation really helps you to become more aware of the things that are creating problems.

Now, on your way home today, leaving your leader’s hat and any other hat behind, where do you suddenly spot the issue you are working on?

a) Here…

b) There…

c) and there as well:…

Find one reason why this is happening in that very location, or one reason why something is not happening, just there.

What if you engaged now in an impromptu conversation with … (stranger), as well as … (someone in your neighborhood), also with … (an elected councilor), and … (an executive/chair from another NGO, social business, or company) and invited them to think about… ?

What if you invited them to activate … with you?

How about you do that this week?

When you get back to work, after this experience, get rid of the superfluous and start focusing on the actions and the relationships you identified, until you get incremental yet evidenced results.

Lastly, share your thinking with me here.

How Ogunte can work with you around visibility and Social Leadership

Our intervention supports women’s influence of change in policy, governance and people’s behaviour. We encourage women into taking influential formal or informal leadership, advisory or executive positions, genuinely “supported” by their stakeholders; we encourage organisations to operate with a gender lens.

For more support

Follow our series on 5 pillars of support to equip social entrepreneurs for tough times. Have a look at our articles on growth of confidence , sense of learning, sustainability.

You can also contact us here to trial a Thinking Booster or team coaching that could help you shape a plan around your leadership.

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