4 Ways to Become a Better Leader
Leading a nonprofit is no easy task, particularly in 2023, when 40% of nonprofit leaders cited “lack of resources” as their biggest challenge, with another 35% indicating “staff turnover,” according to NonProfit PRO’s “2023 Nonprofit Leadership Impact Study.”
With few resources and high staff turnover, nonprofit leaders are facing increased pressure as many roles within the organization remain vacant.
1. Hold Your Team Accountable
One way to make leadership work is to make sure the staff you do have are equipped with what they need to succeed. That includes acknowledging the good and the bad.
“A good leader calls you out on mistakes but reinforces the good stuff. That's one of the most empowering things you can do,” Wayne Elsey, founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises and Funds2Orgs, wrote in a NonProfit PRO post about must-do actions for nonprofit leaders.
2. Develop a Hybrid Work Schedule
Leaders have learned to be adaptable to their employees' needs now more than ever — and that has held true in the nonprofit sector as well.
Though DiBona Lobley, like Jon Nevett, executive director at Public Interest Registry, considered staff input in developing policies, it was important for both of their organizations to have days when staff is expected to work in the office.
“After some thoughtful discussions and a few potential conceptions, we designated Tuesdays and Thursdays as collaboration days, when staff know others will be in the office. We work to ensure that time spent in the office feels worthwhile, and includes activities that would be more difficult to participate in remotely,” Nevett wrote in a NonProfit PRO post.
3. Embrace a Diverse and Inclusive Culture
Though 80% of nonprofit board chairs, executive directors and CEOs are non-Latino white, according to the Urban Institute, Jeffery Beckham Jr. is working to change that with his nonprofit, Chicago Scholars, which assists students from under-resourced communities graduate from college. One such way he improves diversity at his nonprofit is with the hiring of program graduates as interns and staffers, as well as appointing other graduates to his organization’s board.
“Moving toward the top job can be a real challenge,” Beckham wrote in a NonProfit PRO article. “In addition, leaders tend to pull from their familiar networks when filling critical roles, rather than reaching beyond that close circle. This can lead to a leadership tree where every branch is devoid of racial diversity.”
4. Create a Strong Relationship With Board Members
To mitigate leadership challenges, more than half of respondents to NonProfit PRO’s “2023 Nonprofit Leadership Impact Study” sought out capable and committed board members. Recruiting board members is one thing, but developing a strong working relationship is another.
Mike Burns, partner at BWB Solutions, wrote about nine ways to partner with your board. As a nonprofit leader, one of the most important things might be communication, which leads to a strong relationship with your board.
“Throughout the year and in regularly scheduled meetings with each board member, learn what a member wants or needs and whether these are being met,” he said in a NonProfit PRO post.
Upcoming Webinar on Nonprofit Leadership
For more information, join NonProfit PRO’s webinar, “Next-Level Leadership for the Nonprofit Sector,” 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on Nov. 29. In this webinar sponsored by iWave, you’ll discover the leadership strategies and tools needed to tackle unique nonprofit leadership challenges. Join us to elevate your leadership capabilities in a variety of areas, including remote work, inclusive culture, change management, adaptive leadership and board development.
Sign up here to join us live or receive notification when the recording becomes available on demand.