Effective leadership is crucial for any business, but this is particularly true for Nonprofit Organizations like Head Start, for example. Employees are usually attracted to non-profits for the mission and not for the financial incentive. This is why effective leadership is especially important in order to drive the mission and connect it to day-to-day activities. That will help the employees feel fulfilled with their duties. Since budget restrictions are commonplace for non-profits, effective leaders will find other ways to incentivize employees because offering raises or bonuses are not an option. So what makes a great leader of a non-profit? Well, let’s start with this.
Management Vs. Leadership
We sometimes use these two words interchangeably, but the reality is that they are quite different. A manager oversees the day-to-day operations and is relied upon for skills such as staffing, scheduling, and creating and implementing processes. Leadership is really more of an art form. Traditionally, a manager might see themselves as being positioned above their employees. A leader considers themself to be part of the team of employees.
A leader identifies the vision of the organization and places employees and teams strategically to move toward that vision. When asked, most people will say the CEO is the leader, but day-to-day, when obstacles are encountered, there is always someone who seems to have an answer and can rally the team to overcome. That is true leadership in action.
They Do A Lot With Very Little
The best leaders, particularly in the world of nonprofits, are resourceful, imaginative, and unintimidated by the unique challenges nonprofits face. Of course, they manage the budget responsibly, but they are also keeping an eye out for the next financial opportunity. This could be a fundraiser, sponsor, or donor prospect. Their mastery with limited resources makes the team feel secure and confident that the non-profit will continue to thrive.
They Step Up In Hard Times
An easy way to spot a good leader is to see who steps up when the image of the non-profit is at stake. Do they get angry or appear beaten down, or do they rise to the occasion, take advice from the team, and make a solid action plan? People tend to show their true character in times of adversity.
They Attract People To The Mission
A good leader knows how to draw people in to believe in the mission of the non-profit. In the case of Head Start, they make it easily understandable why these children and families need assistance and how they are going to provide it. It almost seems as if they live and breathe the mission of the non-profit and that kind of dedication really rubs off on people. A good leader also makes the rest of the team believe and understand that they are really accomplishing something meaningful.
Even the best leaders don’t have all the answers. In fact, it shows true leadership to take advice from someone who better understands the problem or the situation. After all, that’s why we have teams in the first place. Just like on a professional sports team, each individual has a specialty. When you put all of the pieces together, the team is stronger than one individual who claims to be a jack of all trades. The same goes for non-profit organizations. Strong leaders know that each person on the team contributes something unique and that there are times when the team’s advice is crucial to success.
Great leaders will show all of the characteristics above and they will utilize training opportunities, advancement opportunities, and non-financial perks to incentivize their employees. When a leader is effective in a nonprofit like Head Start, the employees certainly benefit, but the people the non-profit serves also benefit greatly. The result for Head Start is more positive outcomes for the children and families served by the organization.
Are you providing the right training opportunities to help you discover or develop your next great leader?