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Three Elements of Great Not-for-Profit Leadership


Tuesday, 14th March 2017 at 8:10 am
Mike Davis
After speaking to purpose-driven leaders, Mike Davis, founder of Purposeful, has distilled his learnings into three elements of great not-for-profit leadership.


Tuesday, 14th March 2017
at 8:10 am
Mike Davis


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Three Elements of Great Not-for-Profit Leadership
Tuesday, 14th March 2017 at 8:10 am

After speaking to purpose-driven leaders, Mike Davis, founder of Purposeful, has distilled his learnings into three elements of great not-for-profit leadership.

Recently, I have been thinking more and more about leadership and the key traits that are important in how great leaders can get the most out of their people, resources and organisational strategy.

Earlier in the month I was lucky enough to be offered a discounted ticket to see Simon Sinek speak at the Growth Faculty workshop at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition and Centre.

Simon reminded us that bizarrely there is still no universal and established definition of “leadership” or what makes great leadership. Although, there are a number of models, frameworks and well researched and published theories.

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Victor Perton of Australian Leadership to further develop my thoughts. I have also been lucky enough to join some of Australia’s most inspiring purpose-driven leaders as part of our new fortnightly Humans of Purpose podcast.

Here are some of my elaborated learnings, drawing from these opportunities and from my short career working in the public service, with not for profits, social enterprises, purpose-driven businesses, SMEs and as founding director of Purposeful.

  1. Great leaders are resourceful

This means they know where the relevant capabilities are in the organisation and how to deploy them.

They will also take this further by understanding how people want to grow, what challenges will allow them to grow and how they can delegate tasks so that they can be the best version of themselves at work.

Some of the best leaders I’ve worked with are also able to generate great gains in human capital and people development by assembling diverse teams with skills and capabilities in complementary areas.

  1. Great leaders are inclusive

The best leaders I’ve seen and worked with have always placed a great emphasis on making sure victories belong to the team and not the individual.

They also tend to understand the importance of pulling people into projects and organisational development in a way that makes the most of their latent capability or potential.

Special efforts are made to entrust junior team members with key tasks and deliverables important to the project’s success and then to praise their contribution as pivotal to generating successful outcomes.

  1. Great leaders are empowering

I’m a firm believer that people have unlimited potential to learn and develop new skills, but also to master them and become really great at deploying them.

The best way to enable this is to empower and trust junior team members with tasks and responsibilities outside their traditional workflows and comfort zone.

An empowering approach will call for more support, mentoring and encouragement, but will ultimately produce a stronger group of performers with diverse skills.

So what do all these traits have in common and why are they important? They will all allow you to make your people feel safe at work, feel trusted and come to work motivated by a shared purpose. If you are a leader or want to become one, consider Sinek’s simple but profound advice:

“Be the leader you wish you had.”

About the author: Mike Davis is founding director of Purposeful, creator and host of the Humans of Purpose podcast and a Director of SIMNA.


Mike Davis  |  @mikedav84

Mike Davis is senior manager of strategy, impact and partnerships at TaskForce Community Agency. TaskForce is a not for profit, supporting youth and adult clients in their recovery from alcohol and drug issues in Melbourne’s South East.


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