Leading Change
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Develop and Build Leaders in a Non-Profit

rocksMany non-profits have a hierarchical structure but operate by means of a flat or networked system. Developing yourself or other people’s leadership capacity in a non-profit requires more than acquiring skill sets for a current role, but expanding capacity to lead and be led in a variety of situations and circumstances.

The 99% Blog Shares 5 Tips:

1. Hire for personality, drive, execution, and accountability. Skills and experience will always be essential, but today they’re not enough. The value of positive, responsible, and accountable team members who take action cannot by overestimated.

2. Reward leadership. Clearly define what leadership means within your organization, then reward it aggressively. Often, leadership means putting yourself second and supporting the growth of the organization and others. It also means shepherding them into growth situations. Put them, with support, in uncomfortable situations such as leading client meetings, or giving presentations.

3. Institutionalize mentorship. To fill the leadership gap, create a methodical in-house mentorship program with clear goals and a purposeful mandate. Mentorship programs can help new employees adjust or be used as a recruitment tool. IBM, for example, started its program to encourage learning and connect people in a large, scattered organization.

4. Establish communication hubs. The faulty flow of information, especially in organizations that assemble and disassemble themselves on a per-project basis, is the goo that mucks up the works. Hubs can be digital, or they can be actual people. Appointing a communication czar or even just a referee, can save a project.

5. Build a company of listeners and question-askers. A culture that rewards self-awareness and emotional intelligence is a culture of leadership.

I love #3, Institutionalize Mentorship, but I think mentorship relationships work best with clearly defined time-frames for duration and frequency. Ongoing mentorship can quickly turn into an obligation rather than an opportunity, and mentors can end up fatigued.

via The 99% blog on Why Flat Organizations Don’t Create Great Leaders


  1. dude love your thoughts on the success of a nonprofit and starting with developing a successful leadership team. Casting vision and then aggressively making it happen. I am not sure how connected you are but if you have any thoughts or connections to non-profts in southern california I’d love to know about some that I could look into getting connected with.

    thanks dude


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