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This week, leadership in the international development sector has been in the spotlight like never before. Businesses tend to fail very, very slowly and then very, very quickly and this is equally true in the non-profit sector – as we saw last year with Kids Company and will no doubt see again. Being an expert in crisis management on behalf of others can sometimes blind you to the crisis brewing in your own kitchen.

Leadership requires great judgement. Time and again organisations thrive or fail on the back of the judgement shown by its leaders.

Oftentimes it’s the slow coalescence of small decisions that make or break an organisation, not the big policy statements, bold moves or strategic shifts that determine the outcome of your organisation’s future prospects. The ability to determine the right thing to do, when resources are constrained or time is short, when the situation may be one that the organisation has never faced before or hopes never to again.

Sometimes that judgement comes from a keen insight – a form of intuition almost, which has been forged through years of experience, or through carefully cultivated expertise in a certain field. Other times it looks like a form of genius – the innate ability to know what to do and to make it happen with seemingly no guidance.

Where can you find these leaders? The ones who make the right call on the detail, so the big picture quickly comes into sharp focus? How can you be confident the people you’re interviewing have the skills you need, to tackle the challenges you face? How will those leaders react and respond when the crisis hits?

Great judgement is only part of the story, however. You need to identify leaders who will fit in your organisation – adapt and thrive in your culture, and perhaps help reposition your organisation so it is fit for the future. Practicing in the field of international development, you want individuals who understand the nuances of working in multi stakeholder environments where the outputs often impact heavily on the lives of many people.

At Oxford HR we work with a group of international development experts, recruiters by trade but joined together by a passion to help identify, cultivate and promote great leadership. We work across all aspects of international development – finance and banking, development, aid, consultancy and on behalf of Government agencies and we actively search for candidates from all sectors interested in and able to demonstrate expertise in the challenges faced by such organisations.

If you’re interested in developing your own leadership skills in the sector, or are looking to build more resilient leadership within your own organisation, get in touch.

David Lale
David Lale
Group CEO at Oxford HR

David is the Group CEO of Oxford HR having worked alongside and within the charity sector in executive search and recruitment for over 25 years. David is passionate about supporting and transforming the ‘for purpose’ sector. He has a particular interest in innovation and re-thinking the way the sector works. He’s also Chair of Charity People, the specialist UK Charity recruiter, and former Chair of Tiny Tickers, a charity supporting babies with congenital heart disease. He is a guest lecturer on the Trustee Academy training programme and has recently been honoured with an award as a Global Leader in Corporate Responsibility. He holds an MBA, is a Fellow of the RSA and currently studying for a Degree in Computing and AI.