Four Traits Of Great Leaders – For Nonprofits And Beyond


Leading any group comes with its own particular set of challenges. However, the tight budgets, limited staff and long hours common to many nonprofit workplaces lend itself to a particularly difficult environment for the average nonprofit leader. Though it’s not impossible, it does take a particular set of traits to thrive in this atmosphere, and many nonprofits are lucky enough to have found one or more of these individuals.

Below are just a few of the traits and habits of many successful nonprofit leaders. Do you have what it takes to lead your nonprofit effectively?

They Have A Vision

Each and every nonprofit has a mission. Whether their efforts are focused across oceans or across the street, it will be nearly impossible to enact measurable change without having a goal in mind. Knowing where you’re headed is half the battle when it comes to drawing a map to get there. Effective nonprofit leaders have a clear goal for what they want their work, and the work of their nonprofit, to accomplish. This decisive action and clear intent helps to inspire others to get involved.

They Are Strategically Focused

In order to accomplish big things for your nonprofit, it is necessary to be strategic. When rising into a leadership position in the nonprofit sector, it is integral to make the most economic decisions with the resources you have at your disposal to create the most resonating impact. Thinking strategically for your nonprofit involves not just the challenges that are in front of you in the short term, but looking ahead to the obstacles that may be coming your way in the future.

They Can Effectively Delegate

Being an efficient worker yourself only goes so far in any organization – an effective leader needs to be able to delegate work to staff and volunteers and then be sure that the work is completed as seamlessly as possible. Choose an effective team of volunteers and staff that you can trust to do their best work with limited supervision. Once you’ve sourced and selected individuals that care as much about your nonprofit’s cause as you do, it will be easy to entrust them with important projects.

They Ask Good Questions

The old saying, “there’s no such thing as a dumb question”, is one that every effective leader takes to heart. In order to make informed decisions and plan a strategic course of action, it is important that a leader understands every aspect of a project or initiative before he or she begins working on it. And, who knows, asking the right question during a meeting may unlock a discussion and facilitate the flow of ideas.

Developing the skills to lead a nonprofit effectively doesn’t happen overnight. Leadership style sets the tone for any organization. Staff and volunteers will mimic the work ethic of an effective leader. Which skill set are you passing on to the future leaders of your nonprofit?