Here is our perspective on leadership in the the world of nonprofit and civic organizations.
We have found that the greatest barriers to being a good leader are internal. Sometimes people have ideas about what the role requires that get them into real trouble. You won’t go wrong, though, if you can put the following practices into play.
- A leader must always keep an eye on “the aura.” It is too tempting, when we assume a position even slightly elevated above our fellows, to believe that we deserve it. This is never true. When your colleagues see you as endowed with special powers and abilities, enjoy their regard, but don’t be fooled into imagining that you are fundamentally better than they.
- A leader must actively, diligently, energetically seek out opinions that are different from her own. Don’t be subject to the “CEO effect”! Put your back into finding out what people really think, and consider all alternatives before promoting your own views.
- A leader must connect with his followers. It is when people feel emotionally connected to you, and you to them, that you all can move forward together to achieve your common goals. This doesn’t mean getting sloppy or too personal, but it does mean maintaining genuine interest in and compassion for everyone in your organization – even the people you don’t like.
- A leader must study herself. Many of us, in our western culture with its focus on achievement, are moving too fast and hard to stop to think much about ourselves. Yet it is our own hangups, internal roadblocks, and emotional quirks that will trip us up as leaders, unless we pay attention.
Genuine leadership is desperately needed in our world today. We’ll be writing more about these ideas in our blog entries on inspired leadership. We invite you to subscribe today to our blog and newsletter, and share your thoughts about these critical issues.