Robert F. Long

Nonprofit leadership has gone by the wayside — How to create a future of strong, capable leaders

posted by
Robert F. Long, Ph.D.,
Senior Fellow
ASU Lodestar Center

There is no leadership, as typically defined, today! The models, theories, and approaches to leadership that have been espoused over the past 100 years have steadily lost effectiveness around the globe. While many will suggest that the traditional frameworks for leadership have never worked, I only suggest here that they no longer work for the changing contexts in which people find themselves. The failures of leadership are found at every turn — from the need for attention of those who aspire to lead to the need to control those who do take the lead.

The "great man theory," among others, is irrelevant in modern context. So, for purposes of this post, let's focus on what leaders should and shouldn't do. I will leave it to you to see the differences in those who you've identified as leaders. Let's talk about what the world needs of future leaders.

Leaders should listen — not talk. They should ask questions and listen all the way to the end of what others have to say. They shouldn't have "the" answers and be valued for being "right." Instead, leaders should have the capacity to discover great answers and amazing ideas. They should also be skilled at helping those ideas become a reality.