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Global Leaders for Young Children Session on Leadership. Belfast, 2009. Preliminary remarks. Copious theoretical research and reflection, with implications for practice. But, essentially focused on Western and Anglo-Saxon experience in industry and business

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preliminary remarks
Preliminary remarks
  • Copious theoretical research and reflection, with implications for practice.
  • But, essentially focused on Western and Anglo-Saxon experience in industry and business
  • Beginnings in the NGO and social sectors, including in majority world (prominently in south Asia..)
  • Significant variations in approaches and most outcomes remain inconclusive
  • No recipe! It has to be linked to personal position and conditions..
three references

Three references

Leading in Organizations, Gary Yukl (Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458;

Managers Who Lead, Joan Bragar Galer, Sylvia Vriesendorp and Alsion Ellis (Management Sciences for Health, 784 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Ma 02139-4613;

Training for Transformation, Anne Hope and Sally Timmel (ITDG Publishing, 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HL;

the sequence
The sequence
  • Is there an operational definition?
  • A taste of possible interactions between cultural variations and the exercise of leadership.
  • Leadership and management: what are the connections?
  • A tool to deal with a challenge.
  • Reflection on networking or creating a movement
  • Exploring the values of our programmes
exercise your understanding of leadership
Exercise: Your understanding of leadership

Working in teams of two or three, based on your personal experience, select two ingredients that you consider most important in the exercise of leadership.


The Essence of Effective Leadership The 10 most important leadership functions for enhancing collective work in teams and organisations… They can be performed by any member of the organisation, but they are especially relevant for designated leaders.


1. Help interpret the meaning of events2. Create alignments on objectives and strategies3. Build task commitment and optimism4. Build mutual trust and cooperation5. Strengthen collective identity6. Organise and coordinate activities7. Encourage and facilitate collective learning8. Obtain necessary resources and support9. Develop and empower people10. Promote social justice and morality

another more straightforward definition

Another more straightforward definition

Leading is enabling others to face challenges and achieve results in complex conditions

examples of cultural dimensions affecting leadership
Examples of cultural dimensions affecting leadership
  • Power distance: the extent to which people accept differences in power and status among themselves.
  • Individualism: the extent to which the needs and autonomy of individuals are more important than the collective needs of the work unit, community or society.
  • Uncertainty avoidance: the extent to which people feel comfortable with ambiguous situations and inability to predict future events.
  • Gender egalitarianism: the extent to which men and women receive equal treatment and both masculine and feminine attributes are considered important and desirable.
  • Role of religion: the extent to which religion influences the social realm (approach to development, education, etc.)
  • Balance between contractual and relational rights
leadership and management the antinomy approach

Pushing and directing


Task accomplishment

The urgent

Doing things right






Pulling and expecting


Inspiring people

The important

Doing the right thing

Delegation and participation




Leadership and managementThe antinomy approach
leadership and management the synergic approach handout

Leadership and ManagementThe synergic approach(handout)

A tool for addressing challenges



However, let us have a close look at the focus of all our reflection so far? What were we concerned with?


The focus was on the individual leaders/managers, and on leadership and management within organisations, particularly related to the effectiveness of their governance and the relevance of their programmes.

However, are there other dimensions we should look at, as “global leaders” for ECD? What are the projects we are exploring and planning here calling us to be?


We want to exercise collective leadership for ECD at the national level, and (for example through our presence here in the World Forum), at the global level.

  • This requires to look at another set of dimensions, and develop an additional package of skills.
  • We will look at two dimensions, as illustration.
  • Being part of a “movement”
  • Being aware of the values that underpin our work

Perhaps we can start by mapping the situation we find ourselves in: Is there a “movement” for ECD? Are we participants in the leadership that is driving its agenda?

For identifying the nature of networks and understanding how they operate, a good reference is a Background Note of the Overseas Development Institute: Strengthening humanitarian networks, applying the network functions approach.


The authors of the ODI paper have identified six major/key functions of network:

  • Community-building
  • Filtering
  • Amplifying
  • Learning and facilitating
  • Investing and providing
  • Convening

Exercise: in small groups, let’s identify the networks or networking structures we are part of, or know about, that have ECD as their central focus, or one of their areas of interest, and describe two dimensions: their scope and their essential function.


Second quick exercise: explore our values.

Remember the 10th function of leadership: Promote social justice and morality.

One illustration: the workshop on scaling up studies.

Working in small group, let’s try to identify the values that underpin our work with young children, which includes as varied components as curriculum, textbooks, training of workers and parents, research, etc.

We can focus, for example, on the test administered for schools readiness. Can we explicit the values that underpin the test?