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Why nonprofits should focus on leadership development

It is common knowledge that both public and private companies traditionally invest in sustained leadership development as one key way to stay competitive in a global economy.

When it comes to the nonprofit sector, it is a different story.

American nonprofit organizations provide health and human services, education, and arts and culture to communities nationwide. Nonprofits face extraordinary challenges as they deal with funding cuts and an increasing need for its services from its communities. In order to successfully navigate those challenges, nonprofits need to look for ways to continually improve.

While many public and private companies have the funds to invest in leadership development, in contrast, many nonprofits view those types of investments as a luxury rather than a necessity. As a result, leadership development is not a focus for many nonprofit organizations.

However, the need to build and sustain effective leaders is crucial to the nonprofit industry. According to the report entitled, The Sustainability Formula: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Thrive in the Emerging Economy, the authors state effective leadership, more than budget, is the strongest predictor of nonprofit sustainability.

In short, financial stability can only truly occur when nonprofits have efficient leaders that focus on the mission, vision, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness, according to the report.

No matter the industry or sector, effective leadership is at the heart of every innovation and progress a company makes. Neglecting development of the company’s people will only hurt the company in the long run, especially as the evolving global landscape requires leaders to develop additional competencies. Nonprofit leaders, in particular, deal with urgent causes and need to continue to find ways for their organization to be more effective and sustainable.

One way to identify those behaviors, or competencies, that need work is through a validated 360 Feedback. This tool allows leaders to solicit anonymous feedback from their direct reports, colleagues, external stakeholders and more, all for the goal of developmental improvement.

Creating a tailored development program can help individuals improve their abilities and close the gap in their competencies.

In addition, leadership coaching can help leaders realize their full potential. An experienced coach can serve as a sounding board for the individual, and become a key resource in helping to identify management and leadership behaviors that need fine-tuning.

Nonprofits should make it a practice to identify a possible pool of high potential successors. In order to determine this, the individuals need to be equipped with development and workshops, along with actual experience working with budget and trustees.

There is no doubt times are tough right now, but here at TBC we want to make sure we’re doing our part in helping out the Colorado community. This is why we have started an initiative to provide leadership coaching, including a 360 Feedback, for one leader per Colorado nonprofit organization.

There are no strings attached – this is a completely free program we are offering Colorado nonprofits. We hope this initiative can make a difference during a tough economy and can contribute to long-term professional growth for local nonprofits.

If you are a Colorado nonprofit, please contact us to inquire about the leadership coaching and assessment package.

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