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Leadership and the Networked NonprofitThis is a featured page

By Claire ReineltOriginal article posted on Leadership Learning Community website
I’ve been inspired reading the Networked Nonprofit to reflect on the challenges facing the nonprofit sector and the crisis of leadership. The rise of the professional nonprofit organization has produced enormous social benefit over the past 40 years, yet the current leadership culture in many nonprofit organizations is neither viable nor desirable. Many nonprofit leaders are simply burned out from the constant pressure to raise money for their organizations and deliver more services on fewer and fewer dollars. The current system for funding and managing work that produces social benefit is exhausting and highly inefficient. Organizational leaders are isolated from one another, and have few pathways for more collective leadership. What will it take to change this leadership system? Beth Kanter and Allison Fine make a persuasive case that organizations need to become more social to thrive in the 21st century. They need to open access to the outside world, and enable information to flow easily across organizational boundaries. Kanter and Fine speak candidly to nonprofit leaders about the future of the social web and the need to transform their organizations from fortresses to hives. This process is not easy and there is a lot of fear among leaders about losing control or losing their competitive edge, but the other side of letting go is the development of a greater sense of connection with others, reduced isolation, and many more possibilities for influence and impact. Kanter and Fine provide practical guidance for organizational leaders about how to create a social culture in their organizations. This starts with experimenting with and using social media. Both Kanter and Fine are pioneers in using social media for social good and social change. I highly recommend following them on twitter @bethkanter @afine and reading their blogs: Beth’s Blog and Allison’s Blog

I believe we are at a crossroads in the nonprofit sector. We need a shift towards network leadership. That’s why we launched Leadership for a New Era and have focused so intentionally on network leadership in the nonprofit sector. Leadership will look different in networked nonprofits. Leaders will continually listen, engage and build relationships through social networks and social media. They will know how their organizations fit into the larger ecosystem, and recognize how the health of the system affects the results that occur. They will engage in experiments with others to create innovative approaches to address social problems, and learn from their collective experiences. They will coordinate, collaborate, and partner to achieve better results. They will feel a sense of personal responsibility and accountability for the common good.

What are your stories of nurturing network leadership? How are the organizations you work with developing a network mindset and a social culture? Join the conversation at the Networked Nonprofit Wiki and Leadership for a New Era.



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Latest page update: made by nataliallc , Aug 4 2010, 3:44 PM EDT (about this update About This Update Edited by nataliallc

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