Ideally the leader of the organisation should not be too actively involved in the operations of the organisation as this would not leave him/her adequate time to undertake other duties and responsibilities.

It is recognised that this might not be the case and many organisational leaders are expected to manage as well as direct the organisation’s activities.  In both situations, however, the oversight of the organisation’s activities is the leader’s role as well as monitoring programmes and quality control.

Monitoring systems should be implemented in all organisational programmes.  This is not rocket science as we all measure and evaluate as a daily process in our lives, we are just unaware that we do it.  When developing ideas for our programmes, it is essential to put in writing what we want to achieve and how we will measure it.  What would indicate success and where do we make interventions to change course if necessary?  Generally the basic monitoring of programmes should be done by those implementing the programmes, but the leader needs to be confident that these systems are in place.  Checking that they are in place and checking that what we have promised our supporters and donors will happen, is a critical role of the leader.

Key to all the above is quality control. The leader should continually keep an eye out for slippage or sloppy work.  Once an organisation starts to accept second best, this has an impact on its reputation, its status and its ability to attract resources.  Often it is easy to consider taking a short cut, but this always has consequences.  Quality control stretches from checking spelling mistakes in documentation to ensuring that conferences run by the organisation have great speakers and a pertinent and interesting agenda.  Quality control does not mean micro-management, but a gentle reminder that the leader has oversight responsibilities and is accountable for all the outcomes of the organisation and will maintain standards to ensure its continued survival.

Author: Shelagh Gastrow , Executive Director – Inyathelo: The South African Institute for Advancement