Social change is generated by Cause Leadership and social movements

This is not leadership changes for profit, growth, career ambitions, personal profile or competitive advantage, although some of these elements may be relevant: the purpose of Cause Leaders is to produce positive social impact.


The world we need to live in requires the effective deployment of an exceptional set of leadership capabilities to create a breadth and momentum of force for social progress, whether the leader is in an appointed role or has stepped forward to take an initiative. These are the people aiming to play a part in improving life on this globe, together seeking to influence the quality of life for individuals, the well being of communities and the health and sustainability of the environment.


I call this particular form of leadership Cause Leadership ‘cause’ because the purpose is to realise goals where there are social convictions, values and intentions. Causes may be local or global, transformational or incremental, for a small number of individuals or whole communities, or focused on people or the planet.


In each case, successful Cause Leaders need a special understanding of how to influence motivations, trust, collaboration, values and beliefs as preconditions for achieving social change. These are core components of my model for Cause Leaders – The Sphere of LeadershipTM.

Cause Leadership can achieve transformational results

The Sphere of Leadership

The essence of leadership is to apply influence on others to produce changes. Influence only occurs in moments.

Every person has both leadership moments and follower needs

The most effective leadership influences create and promote change objectives (the cause), construct order for change (the system), realise opportunities for change to happen (the stakeholding), and generate optimism about the change journey succeeding (the organisation). This is The Sphere of LeadershipTM.

Leaders achieve a change journey through influence, whilst managers control to maintain their position or keep to the course set by higher up leaders. The role of appointed Leader Managers, where both leadership and management responsibilities sit side-by-side, is explored in the Leadership Navigation Guide ‘The Leadership Identikit’. But even in such positions, management is distinct to the Sphere of LeadershipTM and its Quadrants of Influence. As a Cause Leader you need to:

1. Build a following for your cause what you want to do by producing a compelling case about why it is important. That means influencing by promoting its objectives, defining its value, and describing all of the benefits, thus igniting follower enthusiasm and motivation for the cause to have momentum.

2. Devise the system to deliver your cause what you are allowed to do and prove how the cause can be achieved. That means influencing by creating order, designing methods and setting behaviour norms and processes whilst reducing risks, thus enabling followers to be empowered to act and belong to the cause movement.

3. Involve your cause stakeholders who you need to work with by rallying and harnessing collaboration amongst all whom are critical to the cause. That means influencing by realising opportunities through teamwork, partnerships and stakeholder networks, thus fully engaging the complete range of followers required for the cause to succeed.

4. Invest in your cause organisation what you need to succeed and ensure the capabilities and plans are in place for what you need to do. That means influencing by generating optimism through planning, skilling and resourcing for success, thus building trust and morale amongst the cause followers.

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The four functions of a Cause Leader are

1. To Promote Objectives so followers join the cause because it is what they care about

2. To Create Order so followers are empowered to act and encouraged to innovate

3. To Realise Opportunities so followers and other stakeholders successfully engage as activists

4. To Generate Optimism so followers are confident about the cause journey