Leadership, Vision

E-Leadership – 4 Things I expect Leaders to do

Engage, Equip, Empower, Evaluate Engage: I still see organizations where staff, volunteers, clients, board, and donors are lacking commitment and energy. They don’t see how their involvement matters, give less than their best, and simply don’t truly believe in what they’re doing. High staff turnover and limited productivity are indicators that there are engagement issues. Leaders need to own and promote their organization’s Values, Vision, and Mission (in that order I’d argue). Building from these they can motivate the entire team. The best leaders add appreciation and personally tailored recognition to maximise individual motivation as well. Equip: Staff need both training and tools that are properly suited to their responsibilities and opportunities. With the raw realities of nonprofit budget limitations this is a constant challenge. In the small and mid-sized organizations that represent most of our grantees the responsibility for generating resources falls to people who have significant other responsibilities beyond fundraising. The allocation of limited resources among competitive priorities is one of the most critical skills for leaders today. Empower: Dan Pink tells us that without some level of autonomy people lose heart. Economic pressures and other demands can create a tendency for leaders to second guess staff and not share responsibility. Staff become discouraged and leaders burn out. Limited resources men we can’t afford to have workers who are only able to fulfill duties by rote. We must develop teams that are not only able but encouraged to bring about strategic and tactical changes that serve our organizational purpose. Evaluate: Sometimes the nonprofit world is just too nice. Many of the outcomes we strive for are hard to quantify. We tolerate poor performance or simply trust in people’s best intentions. Rigid performance standards and structured accountability seem too “corporate” in organizations that are driven by heart. The visions that drive nonprofits are too important to be left to hope and happy thoughts. We can and must find ways to measure what we do and to ensure that all of our people are moving us in the right direction. Boards have to set the expectation that evaluation isn’t about criticism but continuous improvement. The bottom line for all of this is that it must be rooted in well-developed and fully activated Values, Vision, and Mission. Maintaining alignment throughout the entire organization is essential.