Dr Clare Allen is on a mission.
As CEO of VisAbility – Guide Dogs Ltd in Western Australia, she knows that work-life balance can be challenging for many people working in the NFP sector – particularly those in more senior roles, and for those in frontline services juggling high client work-loads with admin and/or management responsibilities.
That’s why she wants to spread the word about how organisations can move past a focus on “work-life balance” towards a vision of a much more flexible “work-life harmony” that empowers staff to achieve more powerful and healthier results.
You may know someone like this at work: optimistic and resilient, they appear to bounce through challenges drawing on an internal strength that helps them work through problems they encounter at work. Always hopeful and positive about the future, they treat stressful events as a “one-off” situation, appearing to have a built-in buffer that protects them against both ordinary and extraordinary events. Perhaps this is even you.
This sort of emotional resilience is often considered innate. But can it be taught?
Like going to work, death, dying and bereavement are things that at some point we all have to face. So it’s high time we started having the conversation about how the workplace responds to death and dying. This guest post by Jessie Williams, Executive Director of The Groundswell Project, might help to start the conversation in your organisation.
It’s no secret that the not-for-profit sector has faced unprecedented instability in recent years, with uncertainty fast becoming the ‘new normal’.
The drastic drop in donations caused by the GFC, constant fluctuations in government funding and sweeping sector reforms like the NDIS are just three examples of massive change – and that doesn’t even touch on the increasingly volatile political climate both in Australia and overseas.
To start developing skills to help lead teams during these uncertain times, and to prepare for change in the future, here are three important lessons for leaders at all levels of your NFP.
In a sector devoted to making the world a better place, creating a culture where everyone feels happy is an important priority for many NFP managers and leaders.
But could you be being too nice?
If you’re withholding feedback from your team because you’re afraid that being candid with staff would conflict with being nice, respectful and warm, the effect could in fact be that your team doesn’t perform at their best, and they miss out on opportunities to improve themselves and the organisation’s overall impact.
So if you’re keen develop a culture of candour and feedback in your team, here are seven steps you should follow.
Have you ever considered how fair or “just” your behaviour at work is?
It matters more than you might think. In fact, research shows that if managers behave fairly their staff are more likely to feel committed to their jobs and perform better overall.
The good news is that justice can be embedded into the culture of your organisation – particularly through the improvement of policies and procedures – which can ultimately improve the impact your not-for-profit organisation is able to make.
There’s an emerging type of worker who usually knows more about their job than anyone else in the organisation and is not likely to suffer fools gladly. This type of worker can be difficult to manage as they don’t consider themselves to be subordinates in the traditional sense.
Numbers of these “knowledge workers” are rising steadily in the NFP sector and beyond. And a key challenge for managers today is how to get these sorts of staff members to want to do what you want them to.
Traditionally, not-for-profit organisations have focused their energies on the needs of their clients or issues, since they’re ultimately the reason for the organisation’s very existence.
But how can you be more deliberate about the ever-important staff experience – and boost engagement and productivity in the process?
How does your organisation balance the sometimes-conflicting needs of your staff and clients?
A recent landmark legal ruling highlights the potentially dire consequences of failing to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of your staff.
It’s the age-old question: are leaders born or made?
While there’s no hard and fast verdict, the general consensus is that it’s a combination of both – and that’s great news for the up-and-coming leaders in your organisation who might need further development.