Leadership Essentials


We hear a lot about leadership within the Association Industry. Developing one’s own personal style of leadership is key. There is no magic formula for this one. But once you understand the qualities and competencies of effective leaders, you can create your own approach. Here are a few things to help you get there.


Identify YOUR values and compare them to your Organization’s values. Evaluate where these align with each other and list ways you can portray these values to your team. For example, let’s say you have these values in common with your Organization: Honesty, Integrity and Contribution. One way to lead your team is to lead by example. Become more transparent and of course stay true to your word. Put the contributions of your Organization at the forefront of your conversations.


Leaders need followers. Building trust takes time and it is a combination of Integrity, Competence and Compassion. Follow through with your commitments. Take the time to understand the challenges your team faces. Ask what barriers you can remove for them and truly listen.


Define what qualities you believe a successful leader must have. Think of a leader in your life. Some common qualities include: approachable, empowering, confident, supportive, inspiring and innovative. Think about what qualities you have. What qualities do you need to work on? Another great exercise is to reflect on a strong leader and a poor leader that you have had the experience of working with. Define their qualities.


Managing your team often involves daily, task-driven actions. Clear guidelines help to easily measure the success of your position. Leading is a little more complicated. This involves more strategic actions. More delegating, challenging and evaluating. Not everyone can be a leader and not everyone wants to be!


Lastly, consider your current role. What percentage of your time do you spend Leading. What about managing? How would you like to adjust this in the future? List 3 actions (big or small) to get yourself there. It could be to take a course on leadership or committing to taking time to learn more about your team members. There are endless podcasts available to develop the qualities you’ve identified above.

Investing in a strong Leadership team can back the difference between your Organization becoming stagnant or thriving. Stay true to your mission and remember this is a long term investment, not something quick to fix.