Download the PDF flyer for the leadership research initiative
Leadership is a vital element in humanitarian operations. Good leadership can lead to more effective humanitarian response while poor leadership can create delays, confusion, and missed opportunities. The IASC has identified leadership as a priority area for improvement under the Transformative Agenda. In the field, humanitarian professionals polled for the 2012 State of the Humanitarian System report identified poor leadership as the single greatest constraint to the performance of humanitarian operations.
The ALNAP network, with its focus on improving the humanitarian system as a whole, has been considering the challenges of operational leadership since 2010. In 2012, the Network produced the research report Leadership in Action. This report, based on the experiences of ALNAP members, identified the characteristics of effective operational leaders in the humanitarian sector. It also suggested that, in some contexts, leadership could be improved by ‘spreading the load’ beyond the individual leader: building the leadership abilities of teams, and putting systems and structures in place to support leadership.
The next step is to identify whether these approaches to leadership really are effective in humanitarian operations, and if so, how ALNAP members have put them into practice.
On this basis, we will be able to make concrete, actionable proposals related to recruitment, training, operational structures and operational procedures that can simultaneously improve operational leadership and reduce the pressure on individual leaders.
Paul Knox-Clarke speaks to Reuters AlertNet about our study.
Download ALNAP's 2011 Leadership in Action study, or the executive summary and recommendations. This study allows the humanitarian sector to develop a better understanding of what effective leadership looks like, to identify the determinants of good leadership and ways in which it can be fostered.
Our forthcoming review of approaches to leadership in emergency responses, Who's in charge here?, will be launched in early May. Be sure to check back to this page for updates, or follow @alnap on Twitter, find us on Facebook or sign up for our email update.
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