In search of ways to make a difference, 7 years ago I joined the nonprofit ranks after 25+ years on the corporate side.
I’m often asked what’s different about great corporate leaders compared to those in nonprofit. The short answer: There’s no difference. Great leadership is great leadership.
But I see a couple of important differences. And I feel like a ‘corporate wolf’ in ‘sheep’s clothing’ when I say this.
It makes me crazy when nonprofit leaders say it’s OK to dial down their personal needs and wants.
They champion the needs of others. But when it comes to advocating for themselves, they default to: ‘It’s not my place to put myself first. It’s about the people we serve.’
Except this IS the place to own your power. Naming what you want sets up your teams, your programs, and your organization for success.
I’m wary of leaders who think it’s their job to be self-sacrificing. It’s a slippery slope from self-sacrificing to expecting your board and staff to somehow figure you out. Odds are their guesses and assumptions are sometimes right, and sometimes very wrong.
And if you lead from this place long enough, you won’t be modeling for your staff how to respectfully and responsibly step into their power. And now you’re left with guessing what makes them tick. And the cycle continues.
The corporate world has its own leadership problems. But one thing they know. People get promoted when they don’t have to be told it’s their job to go after the resources and support they need.
YES, bring your big heart. And become masterful at naming what you personally need from your board, staff and partners so you — and those who count on you — can be wildly successful.