Executive Coaching on Nonprofit Leadership Part One

Use Executive Coaching on Nonprofit Leadership Part One to review your organization's attitude to leadership.

This will help you decide on areas of where improvement might be helpful for the future good of your organization. Since attitudes determine actions, don't pass over this section. 

9. Leadership Style is Appropriate for the Stage the Organization Is At


This is Practice 9 of 80

Starting an organization from nothing and taking over an organization with established procedures and large numbers of long-time staff require different types of leadership styles.

The size of the organization makes a difference. Age of the organization, demographics, and needs of those served, are all determining factors. Public opinion and internal challenges make a difference. There are styles of leadership that work best in different situations.

  • What stage is your organization at?
  • What kind of leadership style might that stage call for?
  • Is that style operating currently?
  • Have you traditionally been adaptable in leadership styles or has a paralysis of style set in?
  • What may need to change in style to allow the organization to move ahead? 

Why This Practice is Important

Different situations require different organization-wide approaches.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


Leadership must be adaptable to make changes. Inflexibility may lose staff and cease to attract those you want to serve.

An Expansive Thought

Sensing the winds of change and responding to them before they become apparent is a sign of wise leadership.

An Action Point

Be thankful if your style of leadership is still appropriate for the current needs of your organization. If it isn’t, start to take the steps to change it.

10. The Organization Supports Leadership Development


This is Practice 10 of 80

If you want good leaders, put resources into leadership development. Then make sure you can measure and get a return on that development.

Workshops, groups, books, courses, in-house training, and many other available resources that can be accessed by your leaders will broaden their knowledge and possibilities and deepen their value to the organization.

Don’t leave your leaders without funding and support for the tools to make them better leaders. Encourage it as a matter of course.

  • What do you currently have in place to train and develop your leaders?
  • Review your development plan, if you have one.
  • Do you have a budget for such development?
  • How much is enough?
  • What guidance do you give emerging leaders to assist them in getting what they can best use now, at this stage of their growth?

Why This Practice is Important

Putting the effort and resources into developing your staff will deepen their value and contributions to the aims of the organization.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


Strengthen your organization by intentionally investing in its people.

An Expansive Thought

A few days of training and development once in a while is great, but year-round attention to an intentional plan of growth is by far better.

An Action Point

Have each leader develop a personal plan of development. Review it with them. Support them in their goals.

11. Senior Staff Have a Proven Record of Servant Leadership


This is Practice 11 of 80

In small organizations, workers respect servant leadership - leaders who have been where they are, and who know what they are going through.

They respect men and women who have a track record of serving.

No ivory tower stuff here … Staff, especially volunteers, respond to leaders who role model what it is to be a worker. Find a leader who spends their time trying to get out of work and you will find a demoralized staff.

  • Has the senior leadership ever been out in the trenches and gotten into the work with the rest of the staff?
  • Is the senior leadership visible to the rest of the staff?
  • How have you traditionally chosen senior leadership? 
  • Are there changes in attitude or approach that need to be made?

Why This Practice is Important

Staff will respond with loyalty to senior leaders who work with them, not lord over them.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action that Drives This Practice


Find an attitude of servanthood and you will have found the best example of leadership.

An Expansive Thought

Day after day, leaders who know how to work effectively serve as models to all emerging leaders under them.

An Action Point

Review how you have traditionally chosen senior leadership. Articulate principles of servanthood to guide you in making such choices.

12. The Organization's Leaders Have a Passion for Excellence


This is Practice 12 of 80

Too many people equate talking about excellence with something like buying the most expensive of everything. That is not the case at all. Doing the very best we can is an attitude of excellence.

Buying a commercial vacuum because a household one won’t take the wear and tear may also reflect this attitude. Wanting to measure the success of a retreat so it can be made better next year reflects the pursuit of this quality.

  • Do your organization’s leaders really want things to improve month to month, year to year?
  • Is this the prevailing attitude, and is this attitude articulated for the whole organization?

It’s not about the amount of money spent. It is about the attitude toward spending it and about a whole lot of other things we do and say .... with excellence.

Why This Practice is Important

People want to be part of an organization that is striving to be its best.

The Key Concept, Attitude or Action That Drives This Practice


The attitude of the leadership will be directly reflected in the attitude of the people who work with those you serve.

An Expansive Thought

Carefully pick your leadership because they want to do things really well (not perfectionism) and you will see greater results from your organization.

An Action Point

Ask whether your organization has slipped into a 'that's good enough' mode.

End of Executive Coaching on Nonprofit Leadership Part One. Continue to Part 2 for the next four insights to reflect on your organization. 

If You Have Found Executive Coaching on Nonprofit Leadership Part One Helpful, Consider This

If you have found Executive Coaching on Nonproft Leadership Part One helpful, consider moving on to Part Two on further Nonprofit Leadership insights.

Or, if you are in senior leadership, and would like to work with an Executive Coach, reach out here and connect. We can have a conversation about your needs. 

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