Shaks Ghosh told delegates at a leadership conference in London this week that they had to be bolder in tackling government over funding.
“As we take on more of a role in the delivery of public services we have to be more fearless,” she said. “We have to be fearless in saying no and we have to be fearless in saying that we need the money that we need to deliver good services. We have to be fearless in challenging government in the areas that we know best.”
Charities also had a crucial role to play in community leadership, Ghosh said. “Leadership is about reaching down into communities and effecting change at grassroots levels,” she said.
“The thing that makes third sector organisations really great is that we are generally bottom-up organisations. If we think where change starts it is often within communities.”
Ghosh’s comments came after former director general of the Confederation of British Industry Sir Digby Jones told delegates that good leaders always looked out for others.
“Good leaders are unselfish because they reach out to the ones that can’t and inspire them to go to places they never believed they could go,” he said.
Chief executives should award pay rises to staff above themselves, he added. “You’re getting paid more than them anyway – how much do you want?”