Humanising leadership and management of non-governmental development organisations

20 Feb 2015

For over five decades Non-Governmental Development Organisations (NGDOs) have been active instruments in the provision of social services in support of government initiatives. By and large, their contribution to the development industry has been enhanced by continued support by donor agencies. Lately, there has been an intense debate and scrutiny regarding their impact. While the intensity of the debate and scrutiny gravitates around their claims to be agents of poverty reduction, there are silences, tensions and contradictions in the analysis of the management and leadership of these organisations. This paper aims to critically examine the ?human face? of NGDO leadership and management by unpacking theories of leadership and management from a development angle and how the theories are applied in development practice. As an industry, development is full of ambivalence yet there is not much research or a thorough critique within the academy, of the individuals who lead and manage these organisations and the effect of their managerial and leadership styles have on broader agenda of poverty reduction. The central thesis in this paper is that unless NGDO leaders and managers learn to humanise, that is, leading and managing with human values grounded and informed by theories of social justice, their contribution to poverty reduction will be minimal.