What kind of leader are you? Are you winging it? Or is something guiding you?
Our society is desperately in need of leadership to gather the brightest minds and resources to address complex social issues. These issues are tangled in a complicated history of power dynamics, race relations, economic systems and the key question of “who has access to what?”
One of my continual qualms is how important and complex social issues are and how little resources are given to address them. Primarily, the resource of human capital. The social sector has a hard time recruiting and retaining talent. In my experience, this is due to not being able to compensate top talent or inefficient operating systems that leave high-achieving talent feeling bound and frustrated. Not to mention that nonprofits are evaluated by their overhead costs.
So what the heck are we to do about this?
…that was a kind of rhetorical question but one I’d welcome discussion and feedback on. There are a few pioneering organizations I’ve discovered (and now stalk) leading the way forward like IDEO and Bridgespan Group. Who else is out there leading us to a more just, flourishing society? Who’s taking the leap?
Angel Oak runs on Entrepreneurial Operating Systems and is a huge advocate of the power of this framework. At our young organization, each team member has to develop their leadership competencies to take our company to the next level. Not being a leader isn’t an option.
In the absence of a trough of seasoned, senior team members, books, podcasts, our business coach and our community mentors have instilled insight, wisdom and fortified business acumen. It’s with this collective knowledge and the tools of EOS that we’re attempting our own pioneering.
The tools of EOS have been critical for us and therein we found five clear traits for all those bold leaders out there struggling to lead their organizations well.
SIMPLIFY – Good leaders eliminate complexity. They’re able to reduce issues, problems or processes to their most essential level.
DELEGATE – Leaders give the work away. They free themselves to do the work they do best and elevate each person in the organization to do the same. This helps the leader operate more and more in their power ally, while simultaneously creating openings for others.
PREDICT – Leaders are able to anticipate what the future may hold and make choices in light of that. They can choose the best path, long-term and short-term, through insightful predictions and foresight.
SYSTEMIZE – Creating simple, clear infrastructure creates order and efficiency. Documenting and getting everyone to follow the most basic, crucial procedural steps in your company’s core process enables quality control and effective product or service delivery.
STRUCTURE – Leaders understand the importance of getting the right people in the right positions. The more individuals functioning and contributing in their power ally, the greater their work satisfactions and work yield become. This reduces complexity and increases communication and accountability.
At the end of the day, leading in the social sector isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about making an impact. It’s about positively impacting the lives of others. It’s about daring greatly.
– Cate McLeane, Director of Client Relations
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt