Is Your Nonprofit Leadership the best it can be?
In my experience in working with leaders, there are a few characteristics that I have found to set a great leader apart from the rest, as well as predict their likelihood of success. I call these the 11 Characteristics of Great Self Leadership. Do you see them in your own nonprofit leadership? As you learn more about each of the 11 traits, I invite you to evaluate yourself after each characteristic.
(Trust, Honesty, Ethical Behavior)
You set the tone for others on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable behavior by how you conduct yourself. A leader has nothing if they do not have the trust of their team. Do you lead with integrity?
- MORAL COURAGE
The old saying goes…”What’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong” but it’s not always that simple. There are times where you may be faced with a gray area. A leader should show courage when faced with challenging situations by making the hard, but right calls. Do you lead with moral courage?
It’s important to be as open and forthcoming as possible with others — especially your board and your team. The more you share with them, the fewer questions they will have and the better they can fulfill their roles. Is there transparency in your nonprofit leadership?
Values set the tone for the organization and are often responsible for creating the culture and dictating how people treat each other and customers. A critical piece of any new employee or volunteer orientation program is the explanation and review of the agency’s values. Do you lead by example with values?
Everyone you encounter—clients, your team, volunteers, board members, donors, key partners, deserves to be treated fairly. You should demonstrate courtesy and respect even when someone makes an inexcusable, colossal error or bad decision. Do you lead with respect?
It takes your entire team to deliver on your mission and serve your clients. You can’t do it alone. When a leader is first to take the credit and last to take the blame, they alienate their team and create a wall between each other. Your team will respond infinitely better if you generously share all the credit with them. Do you lead with humility?
- ENCOURAGEMENT & POSITIVITY
An uplifting word of encouragement, thanks, or appreciation from you is powerful and can be just what someone needs to get through the day. Not great with encouragement? Many leaders struggle with this. Once of the best ways you can help encourage your team is to engage with them periodically on their work. Do you encourage?
You will get the very best results when you create task forces or teams with members from different departments and then encourage them to find ways to work together on their common assignment. Do you lead with collaboration?
The best way to provide people with learning and personal growth opportunities is to give them new assignments and experiences that may be just at the edge of their current skill set. Give them a chance to stretch and grow by asking them to work on something interesting and challenging. One of your most important roles in nonprofit leadership, is developing more leaders. Do you empower your team?
Every agency needs a plan. Yet we all know that work (and life) generally don’t go according to plan. As leaders it is our job to be able to quickly and effectively adapt to change and encourage others to adapt to the situation on the ground as it presents itself. Do you lead with adaptability?
- PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Continuing to invest in your own knowledge, skills, and professional development not only makes you a better leader and helps increase your agency’s impact, but it can also help set the tone for your culture. Showing your team that you encourage learning and growth will push them to learn too. Do you make professional development a priority in your nonprofit leadership?
Effective Self Leadership is critical if you want to successfully lead your team and organization. Ever heard the saying, “Do as I Say, Not as I Do?” That’s a bad leader. As leaders, we need to set an example for our teams to follow. If we expect them to embody characteristics such as Integrity, Honesty, Adaptability, etc. we need to first show what these characteristics look like in our own nonprofit leadership role.
If you want to earn your team’s respect, encourage them to follow you, and be inspired by you as a leader you must hold yourself to a higher level. Your team will endeavor to hold themselves to the same standards.
Are you leading at your best…?
Ready to Lead Your Nonprofit Better?
From the Inside Out can you help you create a bigger impact with your agency. Discover how to lead yourself, your team, and your board. Put it all together and learn how to successfully lead positive change. Download Chapter 1 free!