Changing the Way We Lead

At the recent DMA Non Profit Federation Leadership Summit, I agreed strongly with Peggy Dyer, Chief Marketing Officer, American Red Cross, who made a huge point about our need to change the way we lead.

Peggy started by saying nonprofit leaders need to learn to lead with grit.  She quoted a TEDtalk by Angela Duckworth:

“Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just this week, not just this month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

But Peggy then made it clear that grit isn’t all that’s needed.  Heart and authenticity are also necessities for successful nonprofit leadership.

And here’s the thing…it’s not just the executive directors and board chairs who need to embody these characteristics…it’s all of us.  Our community faces many difficult challenges, and it’s going to take a large group of people who embody these leadership qualities—heart and authenticity combined with grit—to adapt to challenges and make the changes our industry so badly needs.

The good news is, after many years in the nonprofit sector, I’m confident we are just the people of grit, heart and authenticity capable of making those changes.

I leave you with a thought from Calvin Coolidge, who said almost a century ago, when our country was at another dramatic turning point:

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are alone omnipotent.”

– Posted by Tracy Lea, CFRE

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