Managing People Well

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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Can you build a culture of candid feedback in your team? Here’s how to start

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.

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Why justice matters in NFPs – and how to make your workplace fairer for everyone

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.

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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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