Research Friday: Leadership Development & Performance Management - Reflections from Daring to Lead 2011

posted by
Marla Cornelius,
Senior Project Director

Welcome to Research Friday! This week we welcome Marla Cornelius, co-author of Daring to Lead 2011: A National Study of Nonprofit Executive Leadership. If you're interested in learning more, this topic will be explored in more depth in the upcoming Daring to Lead 2011 brief: Inside the Executive Director Job, which you can find on the Daring to Lead website next month.

When asked what aspects of the executive director role leaders find most depleting, Daring to Lead respondents named human resources more often than any other job function. One-third of executives said that they do not spend enough time managing and developing staff. And, among all domains of leadership that the role requires (leading self, leading others, leading the organization, and leading externally), executives believe they are least effective when it comes to leading others.

In the words of one executive, personnel management is a "sucking bog."

Yet, executives also report enormous satisfaction in working with talented, dedicated, and inspiring staff members. Leaders are proponents of professional development, and the vast majority of them value shared leadership — meaning an approach that is both inclusive and collaborative, and shares decision making and authority with others throughout the organization.