Why Nonprofits Can’t Afford to Deprive Themselves of Business Psychology Training david Gruder
20 I Nonprofit Professional Performance Magazine Nonprofit Business Psychology develops the psychological mindset, skills, and procedures for building high engagement dynamics in leaders, teams, and individuals that turn strategy into success in fulfilling a nmission and exceeding its goals without sacrificing its values, principles, or people. For for-profits, simply replace “...fulfilling their nonprofit’s mission and exceeding their goals, without sacrificing its values,principles.or people”with L eaders and their organizations inadvertently build nonprofits at the level of their psychological limitations despite their highest mission and goals. This unfortunate reality is true whether a business is a for-profit or nonprofit. It’s true whether a nonprofit is cause-based, religious, a membership organization, or an educational institution.And it’s truewhether the nonprofit utilizes paid staff, volunteers, or both. Nonprofits can feel burdened by this inevitability, or they can turn it to their advantage. As a clinical and organizational development psychologist who has founded, led, served on boards, and provided leader and culture development training for a variety of nonprofits, and for-profits since the 1970s, I have seen plenty of both over the decades. I’m sure you can guess which of these paths I advocate and assist with as a business psychologist. The bottom line is that it’s more than possible to build your nonprofit at the level of its highest mission and goals instead of the psychological limitations that you and your people unintentionally bring to the party. Business psychology provides the resources you need to do this.
so many well intended leaders end up tripping over their own psychological feet? Just as the Peter Principle states that employees are promoted to their highest level of incompetence, the same is often true with leaders. What creates this problem is that talented charming people often tend to get thrown into the deep end of the leadership pool without receiving sufficient swimming lessons. Like all of us, they don’t know what they don’t know. Nor are they offered indepth opportunities to honestly and thoroughly assess their leadership strengths and growth edges, especially in role modeling, organizational dynamics facilitation and right use of power. However, with expert training and mentoring, people who have been promoted beyond their current competencies can become authentic leaders who aren’t sabotaged by arrogance, reluctance, or anxiety. Leaders who are proactive and collaborative, who aren’t afraid to exercise power in good ways whenever needed, and who model appropriate vulnerability whenever and however this might enhance engagement and collaboration. Optimizing Group Dynamics There are four basic types of organization cultures. In a coercion culture, a group of highly competitive, power dominating people control another group who resentfully give in to their over control. The controllers tend to over function while those they coerce tend to under function. No one has a particularly good time. In a chaos culture, no one steps into effective leadership. In a compromise culture, people try to engage in what they believe is “reasonable” power- sharing, but the competition they wage beneath the surface over who will lose the
“...maximizing corporate profit, employee fulfillment, and customer loyalty without sacrificing integrity or social responsibility.” Business Psychology includes three key dimensions: 1. Authentic Mature High Performance Leadership Equipping leaders with psychological skills they need in order to lead effectively but they rarely receive mentoring in developing. 2. Optimizing Group Dynamics Installing in teams the synergy essentials that create high happiness cultures that maximize productivity and transform breakdowns into engagement enhancing turning points. 3. Maximizing Individual Discretionary Effort Enhancing individual effectiveness and job/role fulfillment by establishing purpose alignment, embedding collaboration, promoting agreement creation, accountability procedures, and conducting motivation enhancing performance reviews. And yes, even for volunteers! Authentic Mature High Performance Leadership Leaders fulfill their responsibility as chief vision holder, role model, organizational dynamics facilitator, and ultimate decision maker either by design or default. Why do