What does the concept of “social enterprise”?

Social enterprise, a segment of society or solving a problem that affects the whole developed to non-profit, innovative, impressive ideas. Social entrepreneurs, like non-governmental organizations, are basically organizations that have a socially motivated purpose but that achieve this goal, based on the company’s ability to do business, knowledge and experience, and target sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness.


What is the difference between commercial enterprises and social enterprises?

A commercial enterprises’ primary goal is to increase its profit. Other objectives of the company come from profitability. However, the main aim of a social enterprise is to provide the social benefits that it is aiming to achieve and to complete it with profitability. The performances of commercial enterprises are typically measured by financial returns. Social entrepreneurs often pursue a specific opportunity, and both social and economic goals are adopted together.

As the number of social enterprises in Europe grows, the managers who run them are faced with an increasingly difficult task. Not only must they establish their organisations and legitimate them, but they must alsa find suitable ways to manage their key assets inclucling their social mission and efficiency constraints, committed volunteers and employees, and enlarged governance structures. As shown in previous chapters, social enterprises are different not only from for­ profit and public-sector organisations, but also from traditional non-profit ones (Steinberg 1997). While traditional non-profit organisations still struggle with problems related to their multi-faceted identities (Young 2000), social enterpr.ises are faced by tougher challenges. They embody a new form emerging in an insti­ tutional  and  competitive  arena  which  appears  to  be  rapidly  changing1    and  in which they must frequently compete with public sector, for-profit and traditional non-profit organisations. They share with traditional non-profit organisations the problem of defining a perceived and recognised external and internal identity (Young 2000) which is harder to bring into focus because of the hybrid and poorly defineci nature of the social enterprise form. This hybrid nature is re­ inforced by various factors among which the following are prominent.

What are the strengths of the management structures in social enterprises?

At the beginning of the strengths of social enterprises is the presence of an infrastructure that supports their assets and activities. Many social enterprises report that they are benefiting from support activities and information sharing for NGOs, although they are not targeted directly, they are in communication and cooperation with social enterprises and their support networks at national and international levels.

How can we define good Leadership & Management?

The National Occupational Standards (NOS) for leadership and management offer a definition of key leadership and management skills. They are structured around five broad themes or functional areas which broadly define what leaders and managers do: providing direction, working with people, using resources, facilitating change and achieving results. Within each of these areas the individual standards describe best practice at a high level of detail.

These standards have been reviewed and revised regularly, in consultation with employers and education and training practitioners, increasing both their depth and breadth of coverage. The NOS are designed to provide the benchmark against which leaders and managers at all levels can review and reflect on their role performance

Core Leadership and Management Skills

  • Providing Effective Leadership

Leadership is all about setting direction and creating the right organisational conditions for heading in that direction. This is as true for the team leader as it is for the chief executive, although the scope and scale of the task varies significantly. Truly effective leaders have a clear vision of the future and the capability to communicate that vision to others so that they are inspired to share it and work collaboratively to achieve it. It means ensuring that the right working conditions and physical resources are available but, more importantly, creating the culture, relationships and motivation to inspire people to make the most effective use of them.


The best leaders face problems head on and have the confidence to propose sometimes innovative or difficult solutions. They also have the humility to accept that they do not have all the answers and will encourage others to make decisions by delegating authority and responsibility. Alongside this, they make sure the contribution of others is recognised and rewarded.

All managers need to be effective leaders. While a command and control culture will ensure that employees comply with organisational procedures and the terms of their employment contract, it does not create the enthusiasm, innovation and engagement that modern organisations need to compete effectively in a global marketplace. By developing their leadership capability, managers can achieve outstanding results from ordinary people and businesses, getting the best out of their employees and benefiting from the knowledge and skills that often they are not even aware that they possess. Above all, leaders need to inspire trust in their capability to take the organisation in the right direction.

  • Strategy and Planning

Sustainable performance requires good leadership and management capability at all levels of the organisation. Managers need to develop the skills to manage immediate operational needs whilst simultaneously planning for the future. Senior managers must be able to see the big picture, developing long term strategies that maximise opportunities to add value and support sustainable economic growth. They must have a clear understanding of the organisation’s direction and the ability to continuously seek out ways to improve and build a leaner, more flexible and responsive business.


  • People Management

Core skills for people managers include reviewing and guiding performance, offering constructive feedback and praise, and identifying current and future skills needs. Good managers lead from the front, communicating with clarity, conviction and enthusiasm and mapping out for their employees a clear direction for the business

Managers should also create a learning culture within their team, taking responsibility for people’s career development and promotion, as well coaching team members and supporting informal, on-the-job learning.

  • Budgeting & Financial Planning

Planning and control of financial resources lies at the heart of good management, from the most junior front line manager to the CEO. Budgeting and financial planning ensure that the organisation is capable of achieving its goals. The monitoring and control of financial flows, and the people and physical resources that generate those financial flows, should be a primary responsibility if those goals are to be achieved.


Whilst most senior managers are aware of the significance of financial management, too often managers in more junior positions do not have the knowledge or skills to appreciate fully its significance, nor are they given the responsibility for planning and control that would enable them to gain these insights.

  • Risk Management

If businesses are to lead the way from recession to economic growth they need to be innovative and entrepreneurial, both of which mean being willing and able to assess risks and seize opportunities. From the front line manager ensuring a safe and healthy workplace that minimises its environmental impact, to the senior management team identifying and taking advantage of new product and market opportunities, risk permeates business. The challenge for managers at all levels is to be able to assess the level of risk and the potential benefits that will accrue from taking them. This is what risk management is all about – not avoiding risk but ensuring that the scale of risk facing the organisation is understood and acceptable.


  • Fostering innovation and creativity


Managers have a key role to play in fostering innovation, by adopting business strategies which focus on innovative products and services, and by leading the adoption of new technologies and work processes which improve productivity. There is now significant evidence to support the view that effective use of knowledge and technologies depends on the quality of management, with studies showing that firms adopting continuous innovation .


  • Partnership Working

An increasingly important role for managers is to foster the development of collaborative or partnership working with other organisations. Developing mutually beneficial ‘win-win’ relationships requires a range of skills, including personal skills, negotiating skills, the ability to build alliances, and the strategic abilities needed to define an organisation’s purpose and anticipate changes in its operating environment. Reflecting the ‘political’ nature of building such relationships, these skills are sometimes referred to as political awareness, or political astuteness.


What are the  Qualities of a Great Leader for Social Entrepreneurs?

  1. Have Vision. “The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” John Scully (Former CEO of Pepsi and Apple Computer)

Leaders have a clear sense of where they want to go and how they intend to get there. Vision leads the leader and it paints the target. Leaders see the big picture, then strategically create a plan to achieve these  goals.

  1. Develop the Entrepreneur in you

This can sometimes be difficult for social entrepreneurs because their main focus is on the change they want to see. However, you need your social entrepreneurship to become financially sustainable to accomplish your vision. Learn how to generate a mindset for success, develop business plans, use social networking strategies, develop a brand and learn from their failures.

  1. Good Character. “Leadership is the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence.” Bernard Montgomery

The character of a leader can be seen when they face the difficult circumstances that life throws at them. When we face challenges we can choose two paths: character or compromise. Have you ever been in a situation where it would be a lot easier to compromise? I have…I wish I could always say I followed the path of character! One thing I have learned though, is when we go the path of character, we gain great respect but it is quickly lost through compromise.

Leaders must be trustworthy before others will follow them. The qualities that establish trust are competence, constancy, being caring, authenticity and reliability.

  1. Commitment

True commitment inspires and attracts people. It shows them that you have conviction. They will only believe in you if you believe and are committed to your cause. The Law of Buy-In states, people buy into the leader first, then the vision. Commitment will always separate the doers from the dreamers. Social entrepreneurs are big dreamers and visionaries, they want to see change, but we need to stay committed. It is during the difficult times, that our commitment will stand as an anchor in the storm.

  1. Makes Decisions

“Never ‘for the sake of peace and quiet’ deny your own experience or convictions.” Dag Hammaarskjold, Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Leaders aren’t afraid to make the tough or unpopular decisions because they have confidence in themselves and in their abilities. They know their indecision wastes opportunities and resources. I have made plenty of wrong decisions over the years, as a leader, but the key is to learn from them and move on.

  1. Communication

People will not follow you if they don’t know what you want or where you are going. Good leaders have the ability to convey their ideas to diverse individuals and adjust their styles to meet the needs of the people they lead. Convey your message clearly and seek a response to ensure you have been heard. Developing good listening skills is a big part of communicating…I’m talking about really listening, not thinking about what you are going to say next!

  1. Competence

To cultivate competence, leaders need to keep improving and learning. They have a desire to continually learn and grow and are open to new ideas. Leaders follow through with excellence. Willa A. Foater remarked, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

  1. Help others succeed

Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.  ~Tom Peters. Leaders are not just satisfied with their own success, they empower others to achieve their full potential. They build productive teams through training, inspiring  and motivating them. Just as leaders need a mentor or role model, they need to mentor others.

As you become the leader you should be on the inside, you will be able to become the leader you want to be on the outside. People will want to follow you. And when that happens you will be able to tackle even the biggest problems in the world!


How can we improve leadership and management capability?

Employers can do much to improve their leadership and management capability and boost business performance. Trusted intermediaries can play a valuable role in helping employers in that process. This chapter sets out a customer journey for businesses, starting at the point of assessing leadership and management skill requirements through to the application of potential solutions to any gaps that are identified.

There are “10 Top Tips” for employers to optimise leadership and management performance. Business intermediaries and advisors may find it helpful to use these tips to encourage employers to review their attitude and approach to leadership and management and to advise employers on the actions they can take to improve capability.

1) Recognise that good leadership and management matters

Good management is not all about balance sheets and business strategies. Your employees and how they are managed and engaged are crucial to business success. The extent they are aligned to your organisation’s purpose and values and are prepared to go the extra mile at work is fundamental to organisation performance. How people are managed on a day to day basis will influence their opinions, behaviours and decisions in the service of your organisation. Managing people is difficult and it is easy to get it wrong, so you need to dedicate time and resources to this

2) Be a role model: good leadership and management starts at the top

When was the last time you asked your employees ‘how are you’ or asked for their views? Do you listen to your employees when they ask for help? Do you treat people with consideration, act calmly under pressure and do you act with integrity? You need to be a role model and lead by example if you want to improve your organisation’s management and leadership capability.

3) Implement good working practices as a framework for good management and leadership

Good quality leadership and management cannot exist in a vacuum. You need to implement good working practices, such as High Performance Working ,that offer greater autonomy and help to improve the way employees apply themselves in order to embed and enable good management. These practices empower individuals instead of controlling them and therefore increase levels of commitment and organisational performance. They cover a range of practices and an overall approach that includes:

  • Effective recruiting and resourcing of roles in the organisation
  • Appropriate skills development and training
  • Practices to improve the engagement, motivation and morale of the workforce
  • Ensuring people’s skills and motivation can be properly applied through effective organisation and job design.



4) Effective leadership runs through organisations like writing through a stick of rock

Good senior management is only part of the equation for a successful business. First level and middle management are just as important, as they typically make up the majority of a company’s total management and they supervise the majority of the work force. It is important to know how to audit for leadership and management capability and how to address skills deficits.

5) Provide training, support and mentoring to new line managers

Do not promote your employees into management positions because of their technical skills and expect them to pick up their management and leadership skills on the job. You would not leave any other skill, in any other job to the lottery of trial and error. Not addressing these training and development needs is asking for trouble and leads to higher levels of absence, conflict and stress in the workplace. Untrained line managers may also mean your organisation ends up in court as a result of things like discrimination, harassment, and constructive dismissal claims. Line management is most employees’ first experience of managing people, so it is crucial to provide training, support and mentoring.


6) Be clear about what good management skills and behaviours look like

Managers need to offer clarity, appreciation of employees’ effort and contribution, treat their people as individuals and ensure that work is organised efficiently and effectively so that employees feel they are valued, and equipped and supported to do their job. Employees need to feel that they are able to voice their ideas and be listened to, both about how they do their job and in decision-making in their own department, with joint sharing of problems and challenges and a commitment to arrive at joint solutions. The key competencies of a good manager are: reviewing and guiding, feedback, praise and recognition, autonomy and empowerment.

7) Assess your organisations’ management capability at individual and organisational level and act upon it

Make sure you know how well individual managers are performing as well as assessing the management capability in your workplace with the help of the available tools (see Tip 8). A wide range of interventions can support better management capability in the workplace. These include 360 degree feedback, blended learning, combination of classroom/e-learning, line management workshops, line management champions, secondments, peer networking, and mentoring.

8) Make the most of the practical tools that are available

Make sure you are aware of the support available. There are a number of organisations that provide free, independent advice and guidance and that have developed tools to assess and support management capability, such as:


-Non-profit organizations

-Public Bodies

-Private courses

9) Invest in your workforce, routinely and as part of your business strategy

Do not just fix things when they go wrong. Have a progressive, long-term and sustainable approach to your workforce planning in skills development. Those organisations that continuously invest in people as part of their business strategy tend to also have better managers and higher employee engagement. Schemes such as Investors in People can provide advice on how to align training and skills development to business strategy

10) Be authentic about good leadership and employee engagement

Important as they are, good systems and practices will not lead automatically to better management and leadership capability. Instead, it is how those practices have been implemented and why that matters. Be clear that you genuinely want to empower people and increase their engagement with your organisation so they can perform to their best.


How to Manage a team in a social enterprise?

Becoming a social entrepreneur requires more than a deep desire to see change and challenge the status quo, it also requires strong leadership. As leaders we must be able to inspire, guide and develop others in order to run a successful social entrepreneurship.

There is significant evidence to indicate that leadership can affect the success or failure of an organisation, particularly for small to medium organisations. So it is important that we continually look for ways we can grow and learn. Leadership skills and techniques can be learned, very few people are natural leaders. So be committed to learn and develop leadership skills and qualities.

Key Challenge 1: Building a Management Team

The top key challenge, building a management team, mainly consists of three elements: external recruiting, internal leadership development and retention. Leading a growing and maturing social venture, every founder will need strong support at a certain stage – be it due to missing managerial knowledge and experience to focus more on the mission instead of administrative tasks, or just due to the sheer size and complexity of the scaling organization.

                                  The five key roles in the social enterprise leadership team

  Evangelist Carries deep passion for the organization’s mission

Convinces others and rallies external support

Identifies new opportunities for the organization

Maintains the organization’s culture

Typical Position: Founder and CEO


Scaling partner
Develops and implements strategies to realize the vision and mission

Strategic planning and resources management

People management and organization building

Creating and managing systems for efficiency (organization building)

Reward systems for employees (HR management)

Typical position: COO


  Realist Brings strong skills in accounting and implements financial systems adapted to the organization’s size and structure

Keeps the organization “grounded in financial reality”

Typical position: CFO


  Connector Brings strong skills in accounting and implements financial systems adapted to the organization’s size and structure

Keeps the organization “grounded in financial reality”

Typical position: CFO


 Programme strategist Brings strong expertise and experience in the field of work of the organization

Ensures programmes are designed for maximum impact and that impact gets measured

Supervises programmes and drives quality assurance

Typical position: Head of Programme Development



Key Challenge 2: Delegation and Succession

The second key leadership challenge consists of two related aspects, delegation and succession. Succession was reported to be more challenging than delegation from the perspective of the social entrepreneurs.

The challenge of delegation has at least two faces. While there needs to be a suitable candidate or team to fill the founder’s shoes – in parts or fully, temporarily or permanently – the key factor is the social entrepreneur’s own attitude and ability to let go. Many interview partners emphasized how important it is for them to develop a “lean-out” attitude over time and consciously disengage from operations in favour of a clear focus on strategic aspects of the organization’s development. To do so, it is important to be able to discern between key threats where they need to step in, and less critical issues that should be left to the team and responsible staff to decide. Succession of the founder can become necessary because the founder leaves the organization due to retirement, decides to pull out of the operations of the organization into an advisory role on the board, or embarks on a new venture or different career path. However, the organization should always be prepared for an unexpected emergency – anyone can fall seriously sick or have an accident and be temporarily out of the office, or even worse.

Including  team members in decision-making can be seen as an aspect of delegation: taking a decision involves a range of steps such as understanding the problem and collecting information, preparing one or several proposals of action, and taking final decisions on the general course of action as well as on its detailed implementation.

With increasing levels of participatory leadership, more and more of these steps are delegated to the team. The illustration below shows the classic Tannenbaum/Schmidt continuum of leadership styles, from authoritarian decision-making to autonomous decision-making by the team.

The leadership style that is most suitable depends on the situation: on the decision to take and its context (urgency, criticality), on the team characteristics, and on the organizational context and culture.

Key Challenge 3: Balancing and Integrating

The third key leadership challenge of a social entrepreneur consists of two elements. One relates to balancing conflicting demands from the often manifold roles and aligning the daily work with actual strengths and preferences to ensure highest effectiveness as well as motivation. The other is that this challenge is about integrating differing, often conflicting stakeholder interests inside and outside of the organization

A key leadership insight is that the most valuable assets you have are your own time and energy, and it is critical to invest some time and thought into ensuring you allocate them in the most effective way.

Another  useful perspective of looking at your time is from your own strengths – to make sure you spend most time on what you can do best and/or nobody else in the organization can do (better) – and your personal preferences, to make sure you spend time on what you actually like to do and what brings up your motivation and energy levels.

You can also square your preferences in a similar way with the analysis of whether a specific tasks needs to be done by you. This can be the case because there is nobody else with the skill or ability, because of legal duties such as related to a CEO role, or because of representative duties as the public face of your company.

Another classic that is often recommended is the Getting Things Done system that can serve as inspiration or be fully implemented as a workflow system complete with all-aligned office set-up and software applications.

Key Challenge 4: Personal and Professional Development

Leadership – and leadership skills development – is first and foremost about self-leadership and self-development. While both technical and management skills will be necessary to found and lead an organization to success, it takes great clarity of mind and high awareness for complex realities to craft trailblazing strategies. A mature personality is needed, for example, to strike the right balance between showing pathways forward while empowering team members. Especially in the field of helping others and solving social problems, the critical role of strong personal ethics was emphasizes by social entrepreneurs.


Examples of Personel Development Tools


Coaching Coaching is a classical and effective way to get personal feedback and tailored advice.Especially more senior leaders can take great advantage of regular professional coaching to uncover remaining blind spots after years of successful practice, or identify the need to change previously suitable strategies or attitudes. Such coaching sessions, however, must not be (mis)understood as the main or only time to dedicate to personal development, but merely as interim reflection points and as a source of new impulses along your self-guided trail.


Peer-Coaching Peer-coaching can also be a valuable approach to get free advice from those who know your situation best: other social entrepreneurs or leaders with similar challenges. Ideally, there should be regular meetings among a more or less fixed group of leaders. You can consult a professional coach in the beginning for advice on how to best structure these meetings.


Personal retreats Personal retreats for reflection can be an important tool and should be just as natural as your annual team retreat.

Reserve some time by yourself, for example near the end of the year or around your birthday; go through your diaries or look back at your goals a year ago, your achievements and unexpected events during the year, and emergent themes for the upcoming months and years. Stop, reflect and move on with renewed clarity and purpose

Mindfulness practice Mindfulness practice can help you to develop calmness and clarity of mind, and real presence in the moment.

An increased awareness of both complex outer realities and your true inner voice will serve as a basis for great leadership of yourself and others. Commonly linked mainly to Buddhist traditions, mindfulness can be pursued through meditation or similar practices rooted in many different cultural and spiritual traditions


Are there any leadership and management  training/certification   programmes intended for social businesses?

The majority of leadership and management development is undertaken by employers in-house (especially amongst medium-sized and large employers) and tends to focus on specific knowledge and skills needed to achieve a specific strategic priority or address an operational requirement or weakness. Unlike most occupations, it is rare for people to have any leadership and management training before taking up the responsibility, either in their first management role or in subsequent promotions .The training that they do have, after appointment, rarely leads to a qualification, despite the advantages this can offer.

Some individual managers decide to make a personal investment in management qualifications to help their career progression and as part of their continuous professional development. However, those provided by employers are more likely to be aligned to the specific needs of the business and as a result are also more likely to result in increased productivity and the application of the learning in the workplace.

Qualifications have two major advantages, from an employers’ point of view:

  1. They provide evidence that real, deep learning has taken place, to a standard that is subject to robust quality assurance
  2. They provide additional motivation to leaders and managers to acquire new knowledge and skills.

There are increasing opportunities for leaders and managers to acquire qualifications, by accrediting existing in-house training programmes and by taking advantage of new approaches to learning and accreditation. E-learning has reduced the amount of time that managers need to be away from the workplace; credit accumulation and transfer, associated with short, modular programmes, enables accredited programmes to be delivered over extended periods of time.


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