The Art of Leadership

 

Leadership is influence.
John C. Maxwell

 

I am about to drop some deep and profound knowledge. Are you ready?  Ok, here it is: Leaders shape their organizations.

 I KNOW! That is some life changing stuff.

All sarcasm aside, it is actually very true and very profound.  Many organizations in the nonprofit sector give lip service to leadership development. Yet too tight budgets and too many priorities and projects many times place leadership development at the bottom of the to-do-list.

 So I will say this to you Mr. and Ms. Nonprofit Professional:

Develop yourself.

You heard me, stop waiting on your organization to invest in you….Invest in yourself. Nurture yourself. Mother yourself, Mentor yourself.

If you are like me you may have had some really kind, committed, lovely managers who either where not interested in mentoring you or did not know how. That does not matter. Waiting for your organization to invest in you is an old paradigm. It has gone the way of the dinosaur, the VHS tape and the 8 track tape.  It will never ever return.

 Let me share some advice with you that I have given to the hundreds of folks I have managed over the past 20 plus year.

You are responsible for your career and professional development .Step up and own that right now. Not your organization, not your manager, but you.

Leaders shape their organization. They also shape themselves and ready themselves for the next opportunity that may present itself. The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born.  That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.

True leaders are self-aware. They know when they need help and they go out and find it.The best way for you to do this is to develop your leadership capacities as you address challenges and opportunities facing your organization.

Coaching is a cost effective way for you to do this.

 

I know what you are thinking. How are you expected to do this in addition to everything else on your plate?  You actually have no choice. The professional sector will pass you by if you do not.

Coaching can have enormous value as a stand-alone strategy for developing leaders and their organizations. Many organizations are waking up to this critical point and are looking for leaders that understand the value of coaching.

 An increasing numbers of grant makers are incorporating coaching into leadership development and org capacity-building programs for nonprofits to maximize the impact of these investments.

Coaching becomes one tool among several for strengthening the organization.

According to a 2009 Harvard Business Review article. “Ten years ago, most companies engaged a  coach to help fix toxic behavior at the top. Today, most coaching is about developing the capabilities of high- potential performers.

There is  a clear link between individual development and improvements in organizational performance.

That is how you want to be seen in this sector—as a high performer as someone that get things done.

Coaching is one tool for developing stronger leadership within the sector. Stronger leadership equals stronger organizations better able to handle change and accomplish their mission sooner. It also means  we keep amazingly talented people in this sector, doing good more effectively and efficently.

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