One sign of effective leadership is the ability to draw out the best in others, to allow others in a team to flourish and be recognized for their talents and contributions. Organizations thrive that are run by leaders who have this quality. We know this; we see proof of it everywhere we look.
One would think that vision-driven, nonprofit organizations would attract tons of talented leaders of this caliber whose first consideration is their organization’s mission and the well-being of their team—so why do we see so many examples to the contrary? By this I mean CEOs who hog the spotlight, who terrorize their staffs, and whose perk-laden compensation packages impose sometimes unbearable burdens on their organization’s finances.
In her recent interview with AARP magazine, the actress Sharon Stone talks about her fundraising work with nonprofit organizations and “is critical of nonprofit leaders who ‘rotate in and out and blow their ego all over the place while you're really trying to get money allocated. I've stayed for a very long time because the mission was more important to me than the headaches.’”
The job of nonprofit leader is or should be always bigger than the person. Perhaps someday we will see a nonprofit accreditation program that will take into account such leadership skills, or the lack thereof.