Introduction. Leaders of the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) often face extraordinary challenges – both at a personal and organisational level. These challenges are demanding, and distinct from those faced by governments or the for-profit sector. NGO leaders are often isolated and unsupported. There is talk of a leadership deficit, because of the shortage of talented leaders and the growth of the non-profit sector generally. As a result there is some urgency in attempts to develop a new generation of leaders, and to provide relevant support to existing and future leaders. Leadership development programmes designed for NGO leaders must as a consequence incorporate best practice and current experience rather than rehashing tired, traditional approaches to leadership training.
Aim of the study. This paper examines the role of leaders and leadership in NGOs. It draws on the analysis of recent research into the characteristics of NGO leaders, and explores the challenges of designing leadership development programmes appropriate to the needs of NGOs. This paper identifies the elements of successful leadership development, and assesses the skills or competencies that need be developed.
Keywords: NGO, skills and competencies, leadership, capacity building, leadership development programmes, change and transformation