The word leadership gets used a lot.

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he word ‘leadership’ gets used a lot. Theories and philosophies about it abound. Books, programs, and even institutes are devoted to its study. And organizational theorists wax poetic on the impact leadership has on organizational success.

It’s also something that organizational leaders often express a high level of commitment to, and while there are many examples of organ-izations that make the development of lead-ership a priority, there are many more that pay lip service to it. Efforts to nurture the talent pool often appear to miss the mark, calling into question whether leadership develop-ment practices are really well understood and whether activities to nurture emerging talent are well implemented.

In KCI’s work with organizations throughout the sector, we often hear about the quandary of the “nice-to-do’s” versus the “need-to-do’s” of investing in building tomorrow’s leaders. The challenge organizations face in finding qualified candidates, internal or external, with the leadership skills they are looking for is very real. On the other hand, through our search practice work, we hear critical observa-tions from candidates about the lack of lead-ership development opportunities made available to them by their current organiza-tions. As a result, they become discouraged at being unable to reach their full potential with-in their current organizations and choose to look elsewhere for fulfillment.

In light of these conflicting and yet interrelat-ed challenges, we decidinterrelat-ed to explore the con-cept of leadership development in this edition of Philanthropic Trends Quarterly, both from the view of the overall sector as well on the level of specific organizations and individuals. Fulfilling organizational capacity is impossible without building human capacity. In my experience there is nothing more rewarding

than growing individual leadership capabili-ties and encouraging growth in others. For those of you reading this who currently hold leadership positions, your mandate is clear: you must put words into action and invest time and effort to nurture tomorrow’s leaders. There is a no more important time than now, for as we have seen over the past year, it is those organizations whose leadership is strong and who are continuing to invest in their human resources that have remained effective and progressive.

Wishing you all the best in 2010! Marnie A. Spears




85,000 registered charities in Canada. Compet-ition for talented staff at a time when ‘Boomers’ are retiring. Increasing sophistication level of donors, clients and particularly boards. Leadership is widely recognized as critical to an organization’s success, but the development of emerging talent within an organization can be an expensive and time consuming process.For many non-profit organizations with lean budgets, it’s tough to justify expenditure on building human capital. Add in the pressure most feel around achieving annual operational goals and peform-ance targets and it is easy to understand why the idea of devoting time and energy to identi-fying and cultivating leadership potential may seem like a ‘luxury’ they can ill afford.

But for the reasons mentioned above, it is becoming clear that developing leadership is something that the sector can ill afford ‘not’ to make a priority.

The YMCA is an example of an organization that has embraced the importance of developing its future talent to the point where it has become a vital aspect of the entire organizational cul-ture. “In my opinion, leadership is everything,” says Scott Haldane, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. “I have personally

never seen a success or failure that wasn’t in some way tied to leadership. As a result, devel-oping talent is central to our identity as an organization.” He goes on to say that the Board and senior management team at the YMCA rec-ognize that everything the organization does happens through its people and that as a result, they are viewed as the organization’s most important asset. “By thinking of our employees

as assets, it is easy to develop a mindset that they are worthy of ongoing investment.” Retaining the Best

The YMCA is on to something, as it has been well documented that organizations that make talent building and leadership development a priority are rewarded in a number of ways, including employee retention.

The Leading Edge – Developing

tomorrow’s non-profit leaders

Identifying potential

Jim Collins is considered by many to be a guru on the subject of organizational sustainability and growth. Through research he conducted for his book Good to Great, Collins identified a number of characteristics that are common to tremendously successful organizations. One of those characteristics was leadership. He noticed that the leaders of all the successful organizations they studied shared certain traits. First and foremost, their ambition was for the institution and not for themselves. Secondly, they were a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. He coined the combination of these traits Level 5 Leadership. In consulting with current leaders in the non-profit sector to determine what they look for

when identifying leadership potential within their organizations, the traits of Level 5 Leadership were highly evident.

“In identifying leadership potential, we look for a generous viewpoint combined with an ability to get things done,” says Paul Marcus, President & CEO, York University Foundation. “It is important that they are able to see beyond their own role and responsibilities and do what’s best for York.”

Passion or enthusiasm combined with the ability to communicate that passion to others was also identified as important. “For me, a leader is someone who collects followers based on what others see in them,” says Krista Thompson. “They model certain behaviours

that inspire others to follow them, without the need to be in a position of authority. In this way, I see leadership exhibited at all levels in my organization.”

Two additional traits essential in successful lead-ers are integrity and authenticity. For Monica Patten, CEO of the Community Foundations of Canada, these are some of the most important characteristics that a leader can possess.“While I believe all the traditional qualities that come to mind when thinking about leadership are im-portant, I believe that being authentic is a true test of a leader,”Patten says.“For me, this means that there is a demonstrated alignment between what leaders say and do.This alignment creates trust among those with whom they work, and others will the more readily follow what they do.”




In spring 2005, the Stanford Social Innovation Review published a report entitled Putting People First: How non-profits that value their employees reap the benefits in service, quality, morale and funding. Based on research done in the business sector, the study concluded that putting a priority on the development of employees reaps major benefit to organizations, including improving employee retention rates. Turnover has long been a challenge for the non-profit sector, particularly in the field of fund-raising. Not only does a high rate of turnover directly impact an organization’s bottom line through the costs incurred to replace lost employees, it also has an indirect impact by negatively affecting its ability to raise funds.“As we all know, fundraising is about relationships,” says Krista Thompson, Executive Director, Covenant House in Vancouver. “And it is the people within organizations that develop those relationships. It’s tough to develop long term relationships when the staff turns over on a regular basis.”

Why does it make a difference? Because invest-ing in traininvest-ing and development demonstrates to employees that they are valued, which is an important factor in keeping good people. “In our search practice, we frequently hear from search candidates who are frustrated by the lack of attention paid to leadership develop-ment,” says Tara George, Senior Vice President

and Lead Consultant for KCI’s Search Practice. “Many candidates believe that ‘moving on’ to another organization is the only way to gain leadership skills and experience in order to ‘move up’ in their careers. Organizations that fail to invest in developing leaders run the risk of losing high-potential employees.”

George notes that the corporate sector has embraced the concept of leadership develop-ment for many years. “There are numerous examples of corporations that demonstrate strong commitment to building the talent with-in their organizations,” she says. “It’s now time for the non-profit sector to catch up to our pri-vate sector colleagues in making the

develop-ment of human capacity a priority.”

Different approaches, same key principles Good leadership development has three main components: identifying talent, maintaining a skills inventory and developing individual lead-ership plans. There are several ways in which organizations that are effective in developing talent go about it.

One method is to develop a formal, in-house program. An example is the YMCA of Canada. Serving the needs of the 53 YMCA’s across the country, it has created a national program that focuses on the development of employees across the organization. “The program has four There are a number of tactics that

organiza-tions can use when developing leadership capacity within its ranks.

1. Make talent development an agenda item on executive meetings once a month and board meetings quarterly. 2. Conduct a talent inventory once a year;

once completed, put into place key steps for each employee that will build their personal and professional growth and dev-elop meaningful value-added assignments.

3. Managers should regularly initiate con-versations with candidates about their career aspirations.

4. Develop a sharing library of books and articles related to topics like leadership development, emotional intelligence and effective management.

5. Communicate, communicate, communi-cate. Have regular meetings with staff and emerging leaders about their aspir-tions and skill development.

Putting the success in succession planning

Another key responsibility of an organization's current leadership is to ensure the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume critical positions within the organization as they become avail-able. As a result, succession planning is an important component of any leadership development plan. All organizations regard-less of size should give thought and consider-ation to who will be able to take over key positions in the organization – both during an emergency as well as through a longer-term transition.

Unfortunately, the majority of the non-profit sector does not pay sufficient attention to suc-cession planning. Many organizations do not have a formalized succession plan, and those that do often have one focused only on the top position in the organization.

The External Relations Department at the University of Waterloo, under the direction of Meg Beckel, Vice President, is an example of

one organization that has prioritized succes-sion planning and it is in the process of devel-oping one at all levels within the department. Beckel’s reasons for making succession plan-ning a priority are clear and compelling. “We believe strongly that we are only as good as the people working within our organiza-tion,” Beckel says. “And if we are not constant-ly identifying and cultivating future leaders, we may eventually find ourselves leader-less. As a result, we try to have the right people at every point in the organization and are striving to have a succession plan in place at all levels to ensure that we are as well run in the future as we are today.”

Beckel and her team have applied many of the principles of effective fundraising to the development of their succession plan: identi-fying prospective leaders, cultivating their leadership skills by various means and finally, stewarding them until the time comes for them to take on a more senior role.

While all components are important, she high-lights the stewardship piece as key to effec-tively managing the plan. A commonly expres-sed concern about succession planning is how to manage the expectations of identified employees when their aspirations don’t nec-essarily match the situation, particularly with respect to timing. “By approaching our identi-fied successors with a stewardship mindset, we don’t lose sight of the need for ongoing communication, both about where the organ-ization is and where each individual’s ongoing development needs are.” Beckel says. Finally, she says that keys to the success of any succession plan are honesty and candour. “We have a responsibility to be honest and candid with our employees, both about what their development needs are as well as about what the opportunities are within the organiza-tion.” This commitment to candour must be shared by the employees who have a respon-sibility to be honest about their own goals and aspirations.


levels: entry, mid, operational excellence and senior,” says Janet Emmett, Interim CEO of YMCA Canada. “Targeting different groups, each level is built around developing or enhancing competencies that have been identified as important to improving the job performance of those that participate in the training.” The pro-gram has several components, including formal classroom training as well as coaching and mentoring. For more detail on YMCA Canada’s training and development program, please visit

While developing a formal program is not always feasible, primarily because the organiza-tion’s size doesn’t warrant it, organizations that make leadership development a priority don’t let their small size stop them from finding ways to develop their talent. The Kelowna Hospital Foundation is an example of one such organiza-tion. With seven full time staff, a formalized program doesn’t make sense. But for Sarah Nelems, the Foundation’s CEO, it is still a priori-ty. “I am always looking for ways to have my staff grow their abilities,” Nelems says. “I regu-larly look for opportunities to have them take

on special projects that are outside of their reg-ular job duties as well as to showcase their talents by making presentations. In this way, our employees are always being encouraged to stretch and grow and are also recognized for the great work that they do.”

Even organizations with formal programs often choose to supplement with informal activities as a means to developing leadership potential. Darrell Gregersen, President and CEO of CAMH Foundation in Toronto, has seen informal activities work very well in the past, particularly during her tenures as CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation. “At the NAC, we were always in a “talent scouting” mode. And when we found that talent, whether it be inside or outside the organization, we found ways to keep them engaged at a senior level in the organization,” says Gregersen. “In this way, we were able to develop their skills while providing them with the meaningful, sought after oppor-tunity to interact with the most senior mem-bers of the team.” For instance, they were invited to participate in cross functional teams and work on projects that gave them the

chance to interact with the NAC’s senior leaders. Leadership coaching is another key component to developing high potential employees. While coaching has long been accepted as an effective means to elicit top performance in the realm of athletics, it is finding increasing prominence in the business world for doing the same thing.

Interested in what emerging leaders think about leadership development? Visit www. to hear their thoughts and opinions.

Marnie A. Spears

President and CEO

Nicole Nakoneshny

Senior Consultant & Editor, Philanthropic Trends Quarterly

Philanthropic Trends Quarterly© is published by KCI.

Unauthorized reproduction or distribution without attribution is prohibited. Philanthropic Trends Quarterly© is intended to provide an anecdotal ‘snapshot’ of philanthropy in Canada. We hope it will serve as a useful overview for observers of the charitable and nonprofit scene.

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Next issue:

Watch for our March 2010 edition, which will review trends in the sector as a whole as well as by region and sub sector.

The range of abilities that constitutes what is now commonly known as emotional intelli-gence plays a key role in determining success in life and in the workplace, especially if you’re a leader.

The concept of emotional intelligence (EI, or EQ as it is sometimes called) has been researched in academic circles for many years, but its impact on leadership and organizational effectiveness was driven home by psychologist Daniel Goleman in the mid 1990’s in his books Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intel-ligence, and Social IntelIntel-ligence, among other writings. Goleman’s EI model focuses on five basic competencies that drive leader-ship performance: self-awareness, self-regula-tion, self-motivaself-regula-tion, empathy and effective relationships/social intelligence.

Recent research has uncovered links between specific elements of emotional intelligence and specific behaviours associated with leadership effectiveness and ineffectiveness. “While the competencies that are generally associated with leadership are necessary and important, they have been proven to be insufficient,” says Diane Vezina of Vezina & Associates and Strategic Partner to KCI, who provides cus-tomized EI leadership development and train-ing. “It has been proven time and again that truly effective leaders possess a high degree of emotional intelligence.” Vezina points to the fact that we do business with and through people as a key reason why emotional intelli-gence is so important.“Leaders don’t fail because they are missing technical skills. Most often, they fail because they are deficient in the skills required to communicate, build relationships, resolve conflict, build teams and enable others

to perform, all behaviours that are rooted in emotional intelligence.” She goes on to say that the investment in developing EI pays off in myr-iad ways, including greater performance, better teamwork and better individual contribution. Unfortunately, it appears that not enough attention is being paid to the development and use of EI within organizations. In feedback received from candidates through KCI’s search practice, a significant number of present and emerging leaders cite a lack of the competen-cies associated with emotional intelligence on the part of their supervisors and other organi-zational leadership as a primary reason for leaving their previous place of employment. For more information on why emotional intel-ligence is not optional, visit:


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Emotional Intelligence

The model of emotional intelligence that was introduced by psychologist and author Daniel Goleman focuses on EI (or EQ) as an array of competencies and skills, all of which are critical to leadership performance. The five main competen-cies and leadership practices that make up Goleman’s EI model are:

1. Self-Awareness – knowing your internal state of mind; accurately assessing strengths and limitations; self


2. Self-Regulation – keeping unhelpful emotions under control; personal integrity; innovation and adapatability

to change.

3. Self-Motivation – a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence; striving to improve a level of

excellence; aligning with the goals of an organization.

4. Empathy – developing others; client orientation; working with diversity; business savvy; understanding the

perspectives of others.

5. Effective Relationships or Social Intelligence – proficiency in building and managing relationships;

persuasion and influence; speaking authentically; generating win-win outcomes; inspiring and guiding others. Diane Vezina of Vezina & Associates provides customized emotional intelligence leadership development and training in both the for profit and not-for-profit sectors. She says that the application of these competencies, especially during challenging and turbulent times like we have been experiencing, has a huge impact on how we respond to the chal-lenges. The following are just a few examples.

• Leading and managing change – Change in organizations is pervasive and can be a period of instability in the

organization if not well managed. Change can elicit emotions of doubt, fear and worry. Leaders who are able to effectively manage and lead change have been demonstrated to be adept at building and sustaining working relationships, as well as involving others in change initiatives and adjusting to changing situations.

• Resilient during crises – A high degree of emotional intelligence enables an individual to remain resilient

dur-ing timesof crisis. Durdur-ing times of stress, it is critical for leaders to maintain their composure and stay focused on goals, thereby preserving their capacity for reasoning and good decision making. By being able to regulate their emotions, leaders also instill a sense of confidence in their teams and become role models.

• Decisiveness – Being willing and able to take action is key to effective leadership. Decisiveness and doing what

it takes to achieve a goal are associated with independence in both thought and actions. While effective leaders do not ignore the opinions of others, they are not always dependent on or swayed by the input. This confidence in one’s decision making ability enables them to make good decisions and persevere in the face of obstacles. Emotional intelligence can be learned, which, according to Vezina, is one of its most powerful qualities. But she notes that the journey to develop the EI constructs is lifelong and requires ongoing commitment and constant effort.


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Emerging leaders: looking for walk the talk

While the programs discussed in this edition of Philanthropic Trends Quarterly are stellar examples of leadership

development in action, an informal survey of emerging leaders recently undertaken by KCI shows that their

person-al experiences have not been so fulfilling.

The vast majority of these up-and-coming leaders reported that conversations about career goals and leadership

development are lacking completely. Regrettably, most respondents indicated that their supervisors never

broached the subjects of leadership development or succession planning, nor have they initiated discussion about

future roles that the employee may play in the organization.

In addition, it appears that many emerging leaders are not getting adequate leadership mentoring or sufficient

opportunities to grow in areas where they may need further development. The following quote from one of our

survey respondents summarizes this sentiment: “Many of us are thrust in leadership or management roles without

training in how to organize structures, management and motivation of staff, conflict resolution, or how we can help

shape the vision of our organizations.”

The comments we received from emerging leaders reflect the need for organizations to take a holistic approach

to developing upcoming leaders, ranging from opportunities to be involved with high level decision making to

having greater opportunities to interact with the board. The following were some of the specific areas they cited

as important to them.

Mentorship and Coaching. Emerging leaders are looking for opportunities to be formally coached and mentored

by someone they trust and respect, either within the organization or outside of it.

Formal Skills Training. Beyond developing their subject matter expertise, emerging leaders are looking for the

chance to hone particular skills associated with the ability to lead, and welcome the opportunity to participate in

formal training sessions. Commonly cited areas of interest include management skills training, financial

manage-ment, and strategic planning.

“On the Job”Training. Emerging leaders are itching for the chance to learn from their superiors about what it take

to do their jobs. They would love to be able to learn from their superiors about issues such as how to work with

boards, do budget planning and strategies around human resource management.


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YMCA Canada’s Leadership Development

The commitment that YMCA Canada has made to leadership development is rare and extraordinary in the non-profit sector.

The priority level accorded to leadership development originates in the roots of the organization and its mission, which is to develop the capacity of individuals and communities. “Developing potential and capacity is part of our organiza-tional psyche and the philosophy permeates everything we do,” explains Janet Emmett, Interim CEO, YMCA Canada. “From the point of view of developing our talent, throughout our 150 year history, we have always been able to grow our own,” she says. “While that doesn’t mean we don’t value and welcome people from the outside, we have realized time and again that nurturing our talent internally has a positive impact on our performance.”

The program consists of several components, including a national program entitled the YMCA Canada Leadership & Management Development Program. Targeting middle level management, it focuses on growing senior leadership within the organization and has four levels: entry, mid, senior and operational excellence. The training drivers of each are based in developing competencies identified as critical to maximizing performance at the participant’s level of the organization.

1. Entry Level – focuses on learning and execution of identified core competencies 2. Mid Level – focuses on managing people and implementing strategy

3. Senior Level – focuses on creating and leading strategy

4. Operational Excellence – focuses on managing large programs and facilities

Recognizing that formalized in-classroom training is only one part of a comprehensive leadership development program, YMCA Canada also uses a variety of activities to complement these training events, including on-the-job training. “We proactively and strategically include high-potential staff in national and regional work groups, thereby giving them the chance to grow and develop skills and abilities that may be outside of their day to day work,” says Emmett.

Mentoring is yet another component of their staff development program, and is used with both new and high potential employees within the organization. “Employees are matched with mentors and they are encouraged to meet on a reg-ular basis by phone or in person,” says Emmett. She notes that there are more formalized guidelines to the mentorship of new CEOs. New CEOs are assigned another experienced YMCA CEO in close geographic proximity. An orientation is developed for each new CEO and the YMCA has guidelines for the first 100 days of the new CEOs’ employment. These guidelines include: key orientation activities such as meetings with key stakeholders, key operational learnings, con-tacting Board members, identifying any change agenda items, etc. The mentor helps the new CEO with any questions that arise during the “onboarding” process as well as provides support in the first year of employment.