A few weeks back, I wrote about a fabulous FREE tool available at AskingMatters.com. It is an evaluation – that only takes a few minutes – which assesses your asking style and helps you optimize your fundraising efforts. That quiz got me thinking that if people have natural styles for asking, what are the specific non-profit management and leadership qualities – both individually and collectively – that make an organization hum.
Assessing Non-Profit Management and Leadership Qualities
To better understand your organization’s human capital, first look at what qualities are natural and instinctive. Then assess those leadership and management qualities that can be learned and earned. Don’t limit yourself by thinking strictly in terms of what is best for the world of non-profits. Look outside the box. There is a tremendous amount of information crossover between the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Some of that research focuses on what I call “people with big hearts” and the match of styles that is used to effectively advance their cause.
These people are not drawn to the non-profit world for the money, which is far less than they would be making in the business sector. Rather, they gravitate towards non-profits because these organizations manifest the soul of a society, the best aspirations of a community working together to change the world into a better place. These people with big hearts choose professions in non-profits because it is the sector with meaning.
An article in this month’s Inc. magazine to me identifies some of the important non-profit management, leadership and general qualities of the people with big hearts. The article speaks of the endless fascination with leadership qualities and identifying the styles of those that are most distinctive. As I read the article, the intersection of styles – of the entire staff, not just leadership – was so apparent to me. The three qualities that immediately struck me as critical to a non-profit’s effectiveness were Emotional Intelligence, Authentic and Storytelling. Here’s why:
- Taken separately, emotionally intelligent people are expert managers of themselves and their relationships with others.
- Authentic, although a favorite word that is sometimes overused, aptly describes the integrity of how those in the non-profit world present their mission.
- Storytelling is the foundation of the non-profit world and reflecting those stories back to the people in the organization evokes emotion.
Together these are the drivers of what I think can continually challenge us to know the best way to reach our constituents. Assess your non-profit organization. Do those in management and leadership roles – as well as the rest of your staff – possess them? What qualities do they possess? Please share the outcome of your assessment so we can learn from your experience and move it forward.