Leadership for Non-Profits

When I coach non-profit managers I often repeat some of my most fundamental management tips and processes. Most of them work for any organization, for-profit and not-for-profit.

As a leader, the character of your organization will never exceed your own. Make sure you exhibit every trait and quality you want your people to exhibit. A culture of trust and respect is vital. If you don’t trust and respect an employee, that person should not be working for you. That is your responsibility. If you set an example of taking responsibility for your own decisions instead of scapegoating, your people will do the same.

In Applied Wisdom I talk about some of the leadership challenges The Nature Conservancy (TNC) faced in the middle of the last decade. One of the proposed solutions was to hire a new CEO, and I was brought into the process.

I thought that TNC would be well-served at that time by a leader who had come from either the management consulting world or investment banking. In both those fields individuals have to parachute into complicated, often high-pressure situations and use an orderly process to analyze what is going on and discern what the options are. That pretty much defined what the next TNC president was going to have to do. Mark Tercek fit the bill and became TNC’s CEO in 2008.

In June of this year The Nature Conservancy announced that it was becoming a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), along with over two dozen corporations, non-profits and distinguished individuals.

The CLC is an international research and advocacy organization with a mission to convene global opinion leaders around new climate solutions based on carbon pricing and dividends. Founding members include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, scientist Stephen Hawking, and economists N. Gregory Mankiw and Lawrence Summers. This is the kind of leadership that the TNC under Mark Tercek have become famous for.

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