Posts Tagged by volunteers
|August 1, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management|
Do you practice optimism?
Admittedly, I am not an exceedingly optimistic person and (based on a few family anecdotes about my smaller self) that may be by nature rather than choice. However, I recall a period of my adult life when I was disconcertingly pessimistic in nearly every way. While that perspective may have made me feel secure in my abject readiness for the next shoe to drop or piece of the sky to fall, it certainly did not make the people around me feel confident or comfortable.
Luckily, time, experience and many discussions with people who have more of both those things than I, encouraged me to begin cultivating a kind of purposeful optimism. I accepted the reality that bad things would happen, that mistakes would be made and injustices would occur regardless of our attempts to do everything right. Over the next few years plenty of shoes hit the ground impacting people and places I cared about, but in most cases, with time, everyone survived or even better – thrived.
Dan Rockwell at the Leadership Freak Blog posts about a conversation with a colleague who was challenged by his professor (management consultant extraordinaire) Peter Drucker, for a seeming lack of optimism toward client organizations. A couple of decades later that very colleague, Dr. Justin Menkes, wrote a book about realistic optimism, or the kind of grounded, reflective, authentic optimism a leader should practice.
That post had me thinking all weekend about optimism and authenticity, both in our leaders and as leaders ourselves. In leadership, even in dire circumstances, there has to be some recognition of what is going right. This means being able to find a sliver of what your staff and volunteers are doing best even in the proverbial worst-case scenario. A wake-up-call meeting around the newest red numbers in the face of the latest funding cuts does not need to leave those around the table demeaned or disengaged. Focusing only on the negative, or next ten negatives lurking around the corner, makes staff (or client agencies) tense, fearful, defensive and even angry – none of which are going to help motivate them for the hard work that will be required to face the bad news head on and come out better for it.
What do you think about realistic optimism? What kind of optimism do you (or others) actively model in your organization?
|April 13, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, News, Research||
In a recent study of traits linked to leadership potential, PsychTests.com (a provider of psychological assessment products and services) identified several skill sets where persons rated as great leaders outperformed peers who were rated as poor leaders. Through analysis and comparison of the assessments, the researchers found that individuals rated as excellent leaders scored higher than their counterparts overall and by the largest margins in the areas of goal setting, motivating others, coaching and problem solving. The high-rated leaders also outperformed the lower-rated group in measurements of extroversion and open-mindedness.
What skills do you consider to be most critical in an “excellent” leader? Should nonprofit organizations use these kind of leadership tests to help identify and develop potential in employees and volunteers?
|April 6, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Philanthropy, Research|
The actions of parents are a strong indicator of the future philanthropic behavior of their children according a national study of 2,000 respondents. The study, entitled Heart of the Donor, conducted by Grey Matter Research & Consulting for the Russ Reid Company, examined how adults engage with nonprofits as well as their recollection of their parents’ level of philanthropy. The study concluded that adults who often saw their parents financially support a church or nonprofit engaged in the same behavior, while a much smaller proportion of the people who reported little or no charitable giving by their parents were donors themselves. The study also looked at the impact of parental behavior on volunteer activity and the role of such behavior in predicting the values and practices of children as they mature.
A summary of this study is available at the Grey Matter Research website.