Friday, May 10, 2013

Overheard: May leadership edition

I either had leadership on the brain when I tagged this latest round of resources to share - there's a definite theme to this week's offerings. Since governance is leadership, that's appropriate.

Board members' #1 job: How to be a personal advocate for your cause (Gail Perry)

I have many Gail Perry titles amongst my favorite resources, and this ranks among her best. She makes a compelling case for recognizing and respecting a unique leadership responsibility of boards: advocacy for our organizations and their missions. She boosts the value of this post by offering specific ways to prepare board members for this outreach role. Fantastic. A must-read for every board.

How women (and the men who think like them) will lead the future (Puja Ghelani)

I debated for a moment whether to include this one, given the potential to turn it into a "boys vs. girls" argument. But in the end, readers - and the nonprofit community as a whole - will get the ultimate message and see how the "feminine" qualities serve the sector well. I also know that many of you already demonstrate and/or support those leadership attributes, whether or not they are categorized by gender. The fact is, most of us have a greater chance for successful fulfillment of our missions if we lead collaboratively, are flexible, govern for the long term, and do so with patience and reason. That is how most of us will finally reach the better futures to which we stretch.

Four leader behaviors that build - or bust - trust (David Witt)

Like the link before it, this one borders on the obvious. But, since trust is everything for a nonprofit (if we lose credibility, we're dead), this post felt worthy of inclusion. How does your board exemplify each of these behaviors in its work? How do individual members reinforce them in their interactions with the community?

What is leadership? (Simone Joyaux)

Aside from being a solid post on nonprofit leadership, I share this one because it discusses leadership functions (as opposed to the qualities focus that the previous two share). What do those actions look like in a board setting? Which functions seem to be especially appropriate to the board's governance responsibilities? Which might have greater credibility when accomplished by board members?

Introverts in the workplace: Why they may be your organization's game changer (Kate Smallwood)

As a card-carrying introvert, I couldn't resist the temptation to include this one. But the "three skills that introverts bring to the workplace" described here resonate deeply for the kind of leadership that board members are asked to carry out. We need members who are able to anticipate potential obstacles before they become issues (open eyes). We all need to excel at listening - especially when interacting with others outside of the nonprofit (open ears). We need to reach out and invite others to join us in our life-changing work (open arms).

9 signs you're a leader (Joseph Lalonde)

Though I bookmarked this one the moment a friend shared it with me, I didn't originally tag it as a resource to include here. Then I saw how it resonated with my friend's third-sector colleagues in the UK, and I knew that it must be shared with their US peers. How does this post expand your thinking about the leadership that the nonprofit sector needs? About the leadership that it requires from our boards?

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