Lately I have been reading up on the factors that build resilience, both in individuals and in organizations. Pulling from several sources, both organizational and psychological, here are the top “secrets” of long-term success, in both personal and organizational life:
Be realistic, not overly optimistic. Optimists have a harder time coping with setbacks. Realists expect them. Nonprofit leaders have to be ready to guide the organization through anything.
Build strong social supports. People need to lean on one another in hard times. Nonprofit success depends on the support and mutual goodwill of colleagues.
Have faith in God or in yourself. You have to believe in something, either external or internal to yourself. Self-confidence is essential to leaders, it inspires others to believe.
Be creative and cultivate the ability to improvise on the spot. Life is unpredictable. Seldom does anything in a nonprofit follow an expected trajectory.
Focus on the larger picture, don’t get lost in the weeds. For leaders, the details are not as important as the vision of where you are going and why. Find someone else who can take care of the small picture and dream big.
Help others to focus on the needs of others, Model and spread altruism. Nonprofit leaders need to demonstrate care for their employees. Offer them the best salaries and benefits, and the most congenial workplace, you can afford.
Practice gratitude. Remember how lucky you are, and thank others for their help. An organization is a collection of individuals acting in concert. While the leader gets all the glory (or blame) s/he should continually recognize those who make success possible.