“As a leader my goal is to think about the other—the individual employee—and what their role is in the organization and how they can connect their own passions and personal journeys to their work.”
Tell us about your leadership style and how this contributes to your organization’s success.
The cornerstone of my leadership style is caring first and foremost about the “other”. As a leader my goal is to think about the other—the individual employee—and what their role is in the organization and how they can connect their own passions and personal journeys to their work. By doing this you can truly connect the story of other people, and their contributions, desires and passions to the organization and its mission. Practically, when I give direction I try to listen and support others with the recognition that the other person’s passions, motivations and ideas are equally important. I also keep in mind the idea of the other in promoting oneself as a leader. I try not to worry about credit or whether I am visible per se, but rather about being visible in the lives of individual employees, their roles and in the mission of the organization. At Global Impact, we’ve seen what a positive impact this kind of thinking can have on employees and the organization. By focusing on the other, employees passions are ignited, the roles they can play are clarified, and the organization is unified because everyone sees and understands their role. The notion of the other also extends to board members, partners and stakeholders which helps to create a much more connected, engaged and supported organization as a whole.
What advice would you offer for other nonprofit leaders?
There are several key pieces of advice I would offer nonprofit leaders: – First, prioritize and give a voice to the culture of your organization. It is important that employees and the organization as a whole know what kind of culture you are trying to create and engage them in, and to help them understand how they can be part of it. So much more can be accomplished if you have a strong, positive organizational culture. – Second, develop a strategic framework that allows others to innovate, engage in, shape and be a part of rather than a prescriptive strategy. Your strategy will be much more effective if it is formulated through a process of collaborative decision-making and makes sense to others. – Third, thread the needle between your daily work and the greater mission and role of the organization. Nonprofits are different because the primary focus is your organizational theory of change and the impact you want to have on the world. Always keep in mind that is why your employees, stakeholders, and partners want to be part of your nonprofit. Constantly threading the needle between daily work, the organization and the greater mission, and the cause and change you want to have in the world will create a team that is more strongly connected. – Fourth, define how you measure success. It is important that everyone in the organization knows how success will be measured and how they can contribute to achieving those success measures.
What does this award mean for you and your organization?
It is an honor to be one of the five finalists and this award means several very important things to me and Global Impact. First, it recognizes the commitment I and other senior staff have to building a culture of inclusiveness and making that an important priority for the organization. It affirms the work we have done throughout the organization at every level from the Board, to senior leadership, to our staff. Second, it also encourages us to continue to build on the great work that we have done with our own employee engagement platform, our internal Connecting to Mission program, and our commitment to professional development. Third, it provides some incentive and funding to continue that work. This year we made a commitment to provide leadership training for all of our 75 staff, and this funding will ensure that both I and others in the organization receive additional training in leadership approaches in order to enhance our effectiveness in this area.
Learn more about Global Impact.