Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leadership Experience

"We identified four broad categories of common and effective leadership development experience:..Overcoming hardships or adversity, including turning around something that is failing."

Looking Glass Institute and Dewey & Kaye, Nonprofit Leadership Development: a Model for identifying and growing leaders within the nonprofit sector, October 2008

This study of 36 human service leaders in the Pittsburgh area identified key leadership development experiences. Near the top of the list was "Learning from mistakes."

"We heard many stories of being "thrown into the fire, fighting off a crisis, or turning around a failing program." As one leader told us, "there is almost nothing about my job that is not a hardship; in fact it's the easy stuff that is unusual."

The other two key developmental experiences were "Personal Life Experiences" and "Change in Scope and Role"

These conclusions mirror my thoughts about leadership in Nonprofit Leadership in which I recount my nonprofit experiences -- including mistakes.

Oddly, in the Appendix that enumerates 23 competencies for leadership there is no mention of "reflective skills" or "ability to learn"

This report is extremely useful for identifying the leadership attributes we are looking for to fill the leadership roles in the nonprofit sector -- now and in the future. The importance of personal values and experiences and adaptive learning means that we need to pay more attention to the people we are working with in existing organizations.

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