Updated: Jul 24
As an Executive or Board member, you already know that finding the right leader for your organization is crucial. From my own experience in business, I have seen conclusively that certain entrepreneurial traits can unleash the potential of your organization. In this article, we'll discuss the top entrepreneurial qualities to look for in a nonprofit leader and how to identify them in potential candidates.
Passion and commitment to the organization's mission
The first quality to look for in a nonprofit leader is a deep passion and commitment to the organization's mission. Nonprofits exist to make a difference in the world, and a leader who is truly invested in the cause will be able to inspire and motivate their team.
To identify this quality in a candidate, ask about their personal connection to the organization's mission and their past experiences with similar causes. You can also look at their volunteer work or other community involvement to gauge their level of commitment.
Strong vision and strategic thinking skills
A nonprofit leader needs to have a strong vision for the organization's future and the ability to think strategically about how to achieve that vision. This means setting ambitious goals, developing plans to achieve them, and adapting to changing circumstances as necessary. Bob Iger said one of the main things that helped him get the job as Disney’s CEO was having a clear articulation of the strategy for the company and how to achieve it.
To identify this quality in a candidate, ask about their past experiences developing and implementing strategic plans. Look for examples of innovative thinking and a willingness to take calculated risks.
Ability to thrive in uncertainty and creativity in problem-solving
Nonprofits often face unique challenges that require creative problem-solving skills. A leader who can remain calm in uncertainty, think outside the box, and find innovative solutions will be an asset to the organization.
To identify this quality in a candidate, ask about specific examples of challenges they've faced and how they approached them. Look for candidates who are comfortable with ambiguity and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
Ability to build and lead a diverse and effective team
A nonprofit leader needs to be able to build a diverse and effective team that can work together to achieve the organization's goals. This means recruiting and retaining top talent, managing conflicts, and fostering a positive organizational culture.
To identify this quality in a candidate, ask about their past experiences
building and leading teams. Look for candidates who prioritize diversity and inclusivity, and who have a track record of developing their team members' skills and abilities.
Risk-taking and innovation with a growth mindset
Finally, a nonprofit leader needs to be willing to take risks and embrace innovation in order to drive the organization forward. This means trying new approaches, experimenting with new technologies, and being open to feedback and criticism.
To identify this quality in a candidate, ask about their past experiences taking risks and trying new things. Look for candidates who are comfortable with failure and who are able to learn from their mistakes.
In conclusion, finding the right nonprofit leader requires a careful balance of experience, knowledge, and entrepreneurial spirit. By looking for candidates who embody the qualities discussed in this article, you can ensure that your organization is led by someone who is truly committed to making a difference in the world.
If you would like to learn more about what you can do to better identify, attract and retain entrepreneurial leaders who achieve results, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will schedule a 15-minute chat about how we can help you maximize your impact through acquiring the right talent.