Corporate America has it easy.
There is typically a well documented chain of command and a culture that measures employees (note I did not say volunteers) by title and salary. This makes things tidy…whomever controls your paycheck controls you.
A bit simplistic I admit, but you have to agree that everyone knows where they stand. You don’t perform, you get asked to leave.
In our world it is not so easy. While corporate America uses power in the workplace we need to understand the art of leadership. Sure, you can wield power but power is different than leadership.
Be honest, working for a nonprofit is not often pursued for the high salaries and short hours. And motivating a team of humans to perform is tough work. Then add to the mix a volunteer board (note that is NOT PAID) which is asked to assume the ultimate responsibility and you have a recipie for lots of headaches.
Here are a few thoughts to stow away and break out if you need them.
1) Employees of our organizations can be fired if need be. Pay grade does not matter, nor is it an excuse for overlooking things.
2) You are likely underpaid, but you knew it when you started…get over it!
3) You board has the experience to understand how to use power – not lead! Accept and help them learn.
4) None of what you do is predicated on liking anyone…you are serving others. Argue and discuss what is necessary to do that…then go and have dinner and be civil.
5) Your board will make mistakes…let’s hope you can overcome them
At the end of the day we need you. Not only do you serve others directly you serve them indirectly by offering a learning and teaching moment for everyone.
And hey if you don’t quite agree that is okay…we can still have dinner!