Leadership

How to make tough decisions

Making a tough decision about your team or your organisation’s workforce can be, well…tough.

NFP leaders and managers are called upon to make tough decisions as a matter of course. But what do you do when the decision is really important, and it’s really not clear what course of action you should take?

Harvard Business School professor Joseph L. Badaracco is an expert in making what he calls “grey area” problems – ones that can sometimes be difficult to clearly assess. He suggests five practical questions you should ask yourself that can help you and your team illuminate the “greyest of grey areas”.

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Three positive ways to lead your NFP through uncertain and troubling times

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.

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The top three areas of HR that Australian NFP organisations need to improve

Do you know what your staff are thinking?

As part of our annual survey of the EthicalJobs.com.au community, last year we asked jobseekers who are currently working in the NFP sector to tell us what advice they’d give their current employer to “help improve the workplace, processes and practices in your organisation?”

Almost 1,000 people responded to the question – anonymously of course – and the results provide a fascinating insight into the state of NFP organisations through the eyes of their staff.

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How to manage self-motivated, intelligent workers

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.

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What does it mean to be a values-driven leader? The Pyjama Foundation’s founder and CEO Bronwyn Sheehan shares what she’s learned

Bronwyn Sheehan is the founder and CEO of the Pyjama Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that transforms the lives of children in foster care through education. Since the Foundation’s inception in 2004, they’ve trained 4,000 volunteers with the values-driven leadership Bronwyn has worked to embed in the organisation and its staff.

For her work, Bronwyn was awarded Qld Australian of the Year in 2009, and was a national finalist in the 2008 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. In the lead-up to her presentation at the 2016 Not-For-Profit People Conference, we spoke to Bronwyn about her journey, and how she’s managed to establish an organisation with such a committed volunteer workforce, from the ground up.

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Who holds power in your NFP? Your answer might help explain how effective and engaged your staff and volunteers are

Who holds power in your NFP organisation?

It’s difficult to talk about power. Mentioning power can conjure up memories of encounters with parents, teachers, bosses, the law, family or partners who have exercised power over over us in negative ways.

But power relationships are woven throughout our lives, and throughout our workplaces. And being clear about who holds power – particularly the power to make decisions – in your organisation, as well as ensuring that structure reflects your organisation’s shared values – will mean that staff and volunteers understand how and why power works as it does. And that can mean the difference between an empowered staff member, and a disempowered, disengaged one.

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