Monday, July 23, 2007

Creating a Board LeaderCulture

As I’ve continued my journey of understanding the nonprofit sector and nonprofit governance, I’ve developed my own conception of leadership within this setting.

The name, LeaderCulture, reflects my belief that leadership is a cultural phenomenon -- it flourishes in a collaborative culture of shared commitment. LeaderCulture is based on four factors: participation, communication, direction and recognition. I’ll discuss the thought behind the model. Then I’ll discuss each factor in future entries.

(Thanks to my friend, Carol Stevens of Lynx Design, for giving life to LeaderCulture!)

Lau-tzu articulated one of my inspirations for LeaderCulture this way in the Tao Te Ching:

“When [a leader’s] work is done, the people say, ‘Amazing: We did it all by ourselves!’”

I’ve long believed that leadership inspires and empowers everyone, to work toward a common purpose. In the nonprofit sector, that common target is the organization’s mission. Each person brings to the effort energy, effort and commitment necessary to move the organization forward. That doesn’t just happen: we can’t train it, we can’t mandate it, we can’t cross our fingers and hope things come together. We must create an environment in which that kind of committed leadership can develop and grow.

Each of the four factors contributes to a culture in which leadership can grow and flourish across an organization. Where all intersect, the greatest potential for true leadership emerges.

Next time, I’ll begin describing how I believe each factor helps to create a LeaderCulture.

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