The next time you’re in a library or a bookstore, take a look at the business section. Books on leadership abound.
In the Development industry, leadership training is under appreciated – both for improving leadership skills for those who already have positions of authority and grooming those who are in line for management and leadership positions.
It appears most fundraisers who take on leadership positions learn by trial and error. Make sense? I didn’t think so, either.
While it’s true that there is no greater experience than real life experience, learning to manage by the mistakes one makes can have a disastrous impact.
Fundraisers in management-level jobs work lots of overtime. But, if given the expert training they deserve, managers can be taught how to improve both their own productivity and that of their staff so that everyone (manager included) can leave at 5:00, have a real life outside of work, and come back the next morning refreshed and ready to give it their all.
To be sure, both leadership and management are highly specialized skills. For example, Jonathan Toews was named captain of the Chicago Blackhawks as a rookie. He was 19 and had yet to play in his first NHL game. But, even at 19, he had it. Confidence, charisma, and the ability to lead. He knew the right things to say and to do. He, however, is the exception.
Most everyone has to learn how to lead and there’s no shame in that.
Fundraisers in management and leadership positions as well as those hoping to take on pivotal roles, need and deserve the kind of specialized training that is essential to developing leadership skills – even if they have to be dragged out of the office to make sure they get it.