When speaking with executive directors of non-profit organizations, I often hear, “I wish my senior managers would demonstrate more leadership!”  When I ask what is being done to encourage leadership, the answer often is, “I ask them to show more leadership!”  Ah . . . this may be a little vague!

So, what can you do?  I’ve found that the characteristics or behaviors the executive director is often looking for are:

  • Taking initiative

  • Making decisions

  • Solving problems

  • Taking ownership

Here is a simple self-assessment you can have your leaders take – it measures these four areas.

Individual Leadership Assessment

1 = Almost Never
2 = Occasionally
3 = Frequently
4 = Almost Always

__ 1. I gather and utilize available information in order to understand and solve organizational issues and problems.

__ 2. I generate multiple solutions to solving a problem.

__ 3. I implement, monitor, adjust and try again.

__ 4. I take the initiative in identifying work related problems that need solving.

__ 5. I make decisions confidently and quickly when necessary.

__ 6. I make timely decisions based on adequate data and information.

__ 7. I consider alternatives and generate contingency plans when making decisions and solving problems.

__ 8. I come up with recommendations and suggestions, more than asking for answers.

__ 9. I take personal responsibility to resolve problems, even those not of my own making.

__ 10. I am a self-starter and am self-motivated.

__ 11. I seek increased authority to become more effective.

__ 12. I contribute positively to the leadership team.

__ 13. I am accountable for the results of my actions.

In a leadership meeting, you or a facilitator can guide a discussion of these key behaviors/skills, emphasizing areas with lower overall scores.  Ask each leader to identify actions he or she will take to improve in one or two areas.  Regular checking-in and coaching will help each leader move forward in these key areas and thus demonstrate leadership!

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