Modern Leadership for Fundraising Executives
Successful nonprofit managers and executives have found that with discipline and a firm commitment to change, they are able to move out of their “comfort zone” to adopt a new approach to leadership. With a few guidelines and persistence, managers can navigate their new workplace and be the leaders they want to be.
1. Establish an affirmation that you will commit to being a source of inspiration.
Everyone has different reasons for why they go to work each day, but it’s safe to say that no one enjoys going to work in a place where the energy level is low or even negative. Quite often, the attitude that emanates from the top officers sets the tone for the rest of the organization. Energy, both positive and negative, is transferable and contagious among workers, leaving managers, especially top executives, with the ability to create a constructive environment in their departments and the organization as a whole.
Inspiration can come in many forms, from showing real enthusiasm for the organization’s mission to recognizing the accomplishments of individuals or the “team,” to not gossiping openly about other decision makers. The imperative is for leaders to recognize negative energy and replace it with positive energy that builds morale and commitment among staff.
2. Communicate with staff and everyone around you.
This isn’t a new concept, yet it remains sorely lacking in the workplace. Effective leaders are good communicators who not only speak well, but more importantly, hear what others are telling them. This requires self-control to resist the temptation to multitask while in meetings and focus on what is being communicated verbally and physically. Generally there are three levels of listening, but the most useful is called the perceptive level, where the listener is intuiting more than words by noticing body language, hearing the speaker’s tone of voice, all in an effort to understand the real message. It’s not an easy skill to master, but when it is mastered, it allows the leader to fully engage and focus on the nuances and true meaning of what is being conveyed.