The story of board training for RUHEPAI, in Uganda and ZIFF - Zanzibar (see page 5) illustrates how effective board training enables CSO board members to identify their ethical leadership questions based on enhanced emotional intelligence. In addition the two NGO boards trained unearthed important questions with regard to strengthening their leadership roles toward improving shared sense of purpose in their organizations. Key leadership issues noted relate to boards’ ability to facilitate CSO identity construction as well as the transitions that characterize growth and needed changes in organizational culture and practices. Specific insights expressed in relation to transition and identity construction included the realization, in ZIFF, that board members need to facilitate more integration through enhanced mutual respect and shared leadership practices.
Board members of both organizations recognized that lack of conscious and proactive management of organizational identity was causing erosion of public awareness about the purposes of their organization. This was causing loss of trust and local support.
Transforming power into leadership
The two boards trained identified partnership building and internally galvanizing shared sense of purpose to be key roles and responsibilities of the board. They expressed a new awareness that strengthening the purposing and strategic thinking roles of the board will touch their passion and lead them to align their personal sense of purpose with that of the organization.
One emerging insight expressed by board members in the RUHEPAI board training was: “Everybody has power but not everyone is a leader.” In terms of practical change planning, a similar new learning was most pronounced in the ZIFF board training in Zanzibar. A particular self-awareness exercise enabled each board member to identify new orientations that they will work to develop in order to adopt more facilitative power-use in their leadership functions.
Participating board members in ZIFF characterized ongoing efforts in organizational transformation as breaking into the “integrated phase” of development. They debated the perceived risks of losing control—but also gained the insight that supervision in the integrated phase can still be done in an advocacy manner, which includes coaching for performance enhancement and team based processes of managing accountability and shared learning. It was noted that a key aspect of the board’s own accountability would be to embrace and facilitate ZIFF’s growth as an integrated phase organization, rather than sticking to the clutches of the founder member syndrome or resorting to the rigidities of bureaucratic management.