Giving Up Your Helicopter

Giving Up Your Helicopter
Everyone knows the definition of “helicopter parent,” a term used to describe parents who constantly “hover” over their children, directing their activities, solving their problems, and providing career and life advice. Sometimes, helicopter parents go a bit too far—calling teachers, coaches, college professors, even bosses, when they think their son or daughter has been overlooked or underappreciated, or when there appears to be a problem that they think their child ... Read more
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Your Office Needs to Grow Up Too

Your Office Needs to Grow Up Too
When you were a teenager, you probably had a bedroom that reflected your teenage interests. Maybe you had movie and concert posters and pictures of your favorite singer and of all your friends. Your college dorm room may not have been too different. Perhaps you switched to travel posters, playbills from shows you had seen, and memorabilia that related to your college or university. Now you have an office. It might be an 8 by 10 cubicle or a regular office. There may be two desks, or if you ... Read more
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The Importance of Self Awareness & Self Care for Success As A Nonprofit Professional

The Importance of Self Awareness & Self Care for Success As A Nonprofit Professional
If you read my last post, you know that understanding your own needs in supervision and your organization’s culture are significant factors in your success as a new nonprofit professional. In Part Two, you’ll learn the importance of self-awareness and self care in achieving your career goals. You’ve started your new job and begun learning the organization’s policies and procedures. You’re beginning to understand how your position fits in with the mission you and your team are working to ... Read more
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What About You and the Leaders You Meet?

What About You and the Leaders You Meet?
The fact is, when you have a job, you are going to run into bad leaders. Why? Because leadership is difficult. Even for those with natural leadership ability, it is not easy. As the saying goes, “People quit their bosses, not their jobs.” In earlier posts, I wrote about two extremes of leadership: the good and the bad. This post is about you and what you do with the leaders you meet: 1) Be reasonable in your own expectations; but 2) Remove yourself from a bad situation when you can. Don’t ... Read more
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Things New Nonprofit Professionals Should Consider (Part One)

Things New Nonprofit Professionals Should Consider (Part One)
You’ve graduated from college and/or grad school and landed your dream job making a difference at your local nonprofit. You’re ready to change the world – and you will! Here are two factors to consider which will lead to your long-term success in the rewarding world of nonprofit work. Know what you need in supervision. Supervision is one of the most crucial elements of your success as a new nonprofit professional. It’s important to think about what you need from the start. The easiest way ... Read more
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Do You Know a Good Leader When You See One?

Do You Know a Good Leader When You See One?
My earlier post identified leadership as the good, the bad, and you. I wrote about six behaviors typical of bad leaders. While the opposite of my six observations of the bad are a place to start, there will be no getting off easy for me. Here are my top six qualities of good leaders. You work hard to build trust and earn respect. Sure, your team will trust you at the start, and your leadership role comes with some built-in respect. But strong leaders work continuously to prove themselves. ... Read more
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Leadership Lacking

Leadership Lacking
This past weekend I attended the opening Little League game for a local team. It was only the first day of spring, miserable weather, and the plowed field was surrounded with piles of snow. The people in the bleachers were bundled up and cold. The players on the field were colder still. Yet, there was an aura of excitement for an activity that both the kids and parents were looking forward to after a long winter in the northeast. The head coach spoke to the group before the game started. He ... Read more
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Leadership: The Good, the Bad, and You

Leadership: The Good, the Bad, and You
For simplicity’s sake, we can boil leadership down to: the good, the bad, and you. This is the first of three posts to cover all three. When the topic of leadership comes up, most people think first about “bad bosses” — they skip right over the good, to the bad. So here goes, I’ll use this first post to explore bad leadership. Really, is there anything left to write about bad leadership? I’ve been known to say that every problem within an organization can be tied back to a lack of ... Read more
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Stress Carriers

Stress Carriers
We all know one or two of them. They may be a friend, relative or co-worker. What they have in common is that they scatter stress like Tinkerbell scatters fairy dust. They are stress carriers. They often appear friendly and helpful, but they have a knack — and perhaps the intention — of making others feel inadequate or upset. They also are skillful at shifting their work or worries to others smoothly that you are left wondering how it happened. It is easy to recognize a stress ... Read more
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Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity

Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity
At 2am four years ago, I responded to a general post seeking volunteer tennis coaches. I was about to finish graduate school and had coached sporadically for seven years, so I thought this could be a fun, interim experience. For the next two hours, I emailed back and forth with Vi, the person who posted the ad. She had just started a new NGO that delivered tennis programming to kids who live on the Southside of Chicago. I naturally was curious about this person who was up so late at night ... Read more
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