Written by Claudette G. Baker
How often have you heard, as a leader you are only as effective as the weakest link? What does that say about your ability to lead and accomplish the organization’s mission? Leadership of nonprofit organizations operating in the new normal environment requires more than passion. Today’s nonprofit leaders have to do more than focus on themselves in achieving the mission to ensure long-term stability and sustainability. Leaders must have the energy and capacity to lead others.
“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.” Peter Drucker
The leadership traits described below pertains to all leaders within the organization and is not limited to the CEO or executive director. Nonprofit leaders are:
- Mission driven and visionary – they see the now and the “big picture” future in ensuring the relevancy of the organization in relation to the constituents they serve
- Inspiring and motivating – they lead by example encouraging others to produce quality work that contributes to the mission
- Developing, embracing and empowering – they provide meaningful assignments and build the next generation of leaders by mentoring and offering professional development opportunities
- Networked – in addition to the all valued personal contacts they utilize technology to make connections, show transparency and hold the organization accountable
- Learners – they are not afraid of risks and mistakes, and in fact use the learnings to strengthen the mission and programs
There are many more assumed traits of leadership like honesty, integrity, humility. etc. How you lead your board, staff and volunteers, and what your team accomplishes to move the organization to higher heights is up to you. Your leadership style focused on organizational growth will shape the future.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
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