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Leaders understand the impact of their own power in relation to others, particularly those from at-risk or marginalised groups and proactively seek to make themselves accountable to others.

Discuss the behaviour

Consider how the behaviour relates to your working environment and your interactions with colleagues and others outside the organisation. Pose your own questions where relevant and make notes on your discussion.

Questions for you to consider

  • Who are you formally accountable to, or have you made yourself accountable to?

  • How do you specifically ensure that at-risk or marginalised groups or those in junior positions are heard in your organisation?

  • How do you know how at-risk or marginalised groups feel about being part of, or engaging with, your organisation?

  • Who do you think wields power over you and what relevance or impact does that have on your demonstration of power over others and decision-making?

Action section icon

What actions would you implement to make a change?

Using what you discussed, decide what actions you plan to take as an organisation. Note down who is accountable for ensuring these are implemented and when you aim to achieve them. Note that the "Actions for leaders" are a starting point, not an exhaustive list. You can add specific actions that are relevant to your organisation.

Glossary of terms used


When we speak about “leaders” we mean those people within an organisation that have the authority and power to make decisions and allocate resources. Depending on the organisation, this could be a CEO, directors, senior management teams, country directors, safeguarding leads or other decision-makers.

At-risk or marginalised groups

At-risk or marginalised groups is used in this document to include, but is not limited to: children, women, people with disabilities, minority ethnic groups and those who identify as LGBTQI+. Who is at risk or marginalised will be context-specific, as this is strongly linked to power imbalances.


Accountability is a fundamental principle, particularly for leaders of an organisation. This means being responsible, answerable and ensuring transparency for your own actions, decisions and use of resources. However, there is not always a clear or shared understanding of what this means and how it applies to an organisation. Developing a shared understanding of who is accountablefor what is an important element of a positive safeguarding culture.

Wields power

For example, your organisation may engage or partner with others who influence or have impact on your organisation.