When your cause is important and you’re working to build a better world, leadership matters more than ever – but it often takes a back seat to the scramble to achieve today’s results. The unfortunate consequence in many mission-driven organizations is a toxic or hypocritical culture that doesn’t embrace the same values the organization works to build. This leadership paradox isn’t limited to nonprofit or social justice organizations. The same thing can happen in mission-driven companies. In this episode, Rita Sever gives you practical tools you can use to ensure you are living out your human-centered leadership values while also pursuing the valuable mission your organization exists to achieve.
Leading for Justice
1:45 – First, the principles of leading in nonprofits apply to leading other organizations.
6:36 – Toxic cultures often produced by mission-motivated leaders who say “If you really cared, you would …”
9:30 – The three most valuable questions that can keep you and your team on track (and every organization). Why, where, and how are you going?
14:22 – How leading for justice requires you to speak and listen without judgment.
15:26 – How to start your accountability conversations to maintain relationships and set a connected, “I’m on your side” atmosphere.
17:30 – Equity. What it means, what it looks like, and how leaders skillfully apply consistency to achieve an equitable organization.
20:36 – Your massive power (for good and ill.) How do you take responsibility for the power you have?
25:37 – How socialization has created imbalanced communication norms with men and how to take responsibility for building teams where voices have equal weight.
28:38 – A practical way you can build a culture where everyone contributes.
Aligning Words and Actions
29:59 – How to align your good intentions and good words with the behaviors that will serve those intentions and resonate with your team.
31:46 – The value of listening and thanking people for what they’ve said. How to respond when you’re instinct is to defend yourself.
34:18 – How leading for justice requires you to be comfortable with discomfort. Ambiguity and discomfort are a key part of the journey.
35:58 – Pencil culture vs pen culture. How approaching your work and decisions with a “let’s see how this works” perspective builds loyalty and engagement.
39:38 – The role of self-awareness in building more equitable teams and organizations. How leaders can take practical next steps to disrupt some of the ineffective dominant practices that permeate many organizations.
46:11 – Why leaders should dance their way through their work and invite their team to dance with them.