What Skills Do You Need to Succeed in Your Management Role?
As nonprofit professionals, were you thrusted into management roles over time? Some of us were not totally prepared for this responsibility. In fact, most nonprofit professionals in management roles are not only responsible for management, but they have an impossible fundraising portfolio to service. I have seen outstanding fundraising professionals lose their total effectiveness in raising funds because they now must manage others. There is only so much time in the workday.
Stop and think about management in today’s world for a minute. Your staff is now in the office one day and remote the next. Others have compressed schedules and only work certain days of the week. Turnover is a constant headache. You cannot fill existing positions while these roles are changing. Staff want more when you have less to give. Your management job is getting harder by the day. You are dealing with this while remembering your lack of management training in your career. My hunch is many of your management skills were received by on-the-job training as opposed to taking management classes.
Nonprofit professionals need to understand what qualities and skills outstanding nonprofit managers possess so these skills can be learned and developed. Top Management Degrees noted that nonprofit organizations need well-trained and committed leaders. These leaders must have specific characteristics to succeed in this complex environment. They must have effective communication skills, promote teamwork, accept responsibility, understand finance, solve complex problems and mentor younger professionals. Leaders must want to lead and strive for continual performance enhancement.
Forbes believes that today’s leaders must have an array of soft and hard skills combined with the flexibility to adapt to an ever-changing landscape. Members of the Forbes Nonprofit Council shared qualities every leader needs to exhibit. These elements include adaptability, self-awareness, change management, core values, resilience, vision, integrity, humility, agility, motivate talent, empowerment, problem-solving, empathy and curiosity. It is shared that besides these attributes, nonprofit leaders and managers must always have a passion for the organization’s mission.
Chron provides three major challenges to nonprofits in today’s world. These include raising money, marketing the organization and evaluating success. To make this happen, managers must have vision, communication skills, diplomacy, conflict resolution, fundraising abilities, etiquette, honesty, assertiveness, approachability and competent staff. An effective manager should employ an open-door policy with his or her staff to make sure employees achieve organizational goals.
According to the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, nonprofit leaders must seek to develop their talents and abilities throughout their career. The demands of the job only increase as you move up the administrative ladder. Skills you must perfect over time to succeed as a leader include public speaking, communications, relationship building, strategic planning, delegation, budget allocation and problem solving. These skills should be encouraged to be used by staff, who will eventually be in leadership roles.
Nonprofit leaders, according to the Moran Company, should strive to acquire and promote attributes. These attributes include being an initiative-taker, having organizational passion, ability to motivate others, strive to be servant leaders, do well with conflict, think strategically but implement tactically, have financial acumen, promote fundraising skills, listen, have sound judgment, be persistence, and have physical and emotional stamina. No one has every trait, but nonprofit practitioners should seek to possess these traits.
An article by Inc. indicates that for great leaders to succeed, they need to focus on specific skills. A study of 330,000 bosses, peers and subordinates ranked the top 10 competencies from a list of 16 key leadership skills. The most important leadership skills for success according to this study are motivation, integrity, analytical thinking, results driven, communicator, relationship builder, professional expertise, methodical thinker, developer of others and innovator. Leaders must also be change agents.
Throughout this article, you’ll note that certain skills, attributes and characteristics were repeated. Do you possess any of these skills? If not, I suggest you review this information and strive to improve your skill set as a manager. Seek to know your strengths and weaknesses through doing a personal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis.
Managing staff is hard for any nonprofit professional. The complexity and demands of a manager seem to increase each week. Understand what skills are possessed by successful leaders and strive to emulate them. Become a mentor to an outstanding manager and constantly seek self-improvement. Not every nonprofit professional can balance raising funds and managing others effectively at the same time. You may have to choose a management career tract or fundraising career tract. Remember that fact as your career continues to proceed over time. Always remember that your personal success is tied to the success of your staff.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy.