Why a Strong Leadership Team Matter to High Performing Nonprofits

Written by Bernadette Doré on . Posted in Blog

In a recent nonprofit retreat that WorldLink facilitated, I was reminded of the critical space that senior management occupies for influencing employee satisfaction.  As internal measurement specialist, Angela Sinickas has noted “the single largest driver of employee engagement is the strength of the communication link between employees and supervisor.”  Indeed, the results from our employee survey demonstrated that the employees who attended the retreat feel valued – that their opinions matter.  Organizations that rely on Gallup’s famous Q12 Index will be well served by capturing an accurate picture of their work environment:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The retreat once again proved what we’ve all heard many times: employee’s relationship with their direct supervisors is the single most important factor in producing job satisfaction.  Managers that remain attuned to employees’ moods and emotional needs will meet success in negotiating the tension between continuity and change, that are the hallmark of the workplace.

Satisfied employees tend to do better work and stay longer in their jobs. This statement makes intuitive sense. Thus, the final takeaway–successful nonprofits are led not just by visionary Executive Directors but by a senior leadership team with well-honed interpersonal development skills.

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