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The importance of leadership skills in not-for-profit executive search

The importance of leadership skills in not-for-profit executive search

Think of a few of the world’s most charitable figureheads; Richard Branson, Melissa Gates, Bono, aside from their fame, they all share one common characteristic; strong leadership. Whilst you won’t be hiring Richard, Melissa or Bono for your not-for-profit executive role, the ideal candidate will share a lot of the characteristics that make them great leaders and visionary thinkers.

When searching for a not-for-profit executive, strong leadership skills are key in ensuring you hire the right person. Why? Because the quality of their leadership will impact on subordinates and the fulfillment of wider business goals.

Excellent leadership skills are desirable for both nonprofit and for-profit executive positions, but what does “excellent leadership skills” mean when applied to the not-for-profit sector?

Building relationships, not just transactions

Relationship building extends further than the transactional nature of for-profit relationships, where client relations are built upon increasing finances for shareholders. A leader within the not-for-profit sector must be comfortable with building relationships on an emotional level, as well as transactionally. Furthermore, a not-for-profit executive is often required to liaise with a number of different stakeholders, including the board, the public, and sometimes even the government, meaning they must be flexible to the differing attitudes of these groups and inspire them to take action.

Strategic challenges in the not-for-profit sector

Not-for-profit executives face unique strategic challenges when compared to those working within for-profit sectors. Due to the financially restrictive nature of the not-for-profit industry, executives should have a firm grasp on the financial and operational aspects of the company, allowing them to form a strategic vision that encompasses the whole business, as opposed to a smaller portion of it.

Driving for excellence

A successful not-for-profit executive should demonstrate strong leadership in their drive for excellence within their team and themselves, as well as exhibiting a passion for the cause that inspires those around them to incite change.

At Thewlis Graham Associates, we echo this drive for excellence in our approach to not-for-profit executive search, aiming to not only match an individual to the organisation, but also ensuring that the organisation matches the individual. Contact us to find out why our clients, old and new, look no further than Thewlis Graham Associates when it comes to not-for-profit executive search.