Person Centered Leadership for Nonprofit Organizations.
"We must do more with less"! This common refrain is heard in organizations throughout the world and nowhere is this statement uttered more frequently than at a non-profit organization. And the less refers to both finances and people. By definition non-profits do more with quite a bit less. What funding sources are available typically provide monies for operation, not administration. This coupled with the high turnover rate of both management and staff means most agencies do not have the luxury of retaining quality employees with the promise of high compensation. So other methods must be found to lead and motivate workers. The tried & true, top down militaristic approach will not work. A kinder, gentler style is required. Lucky for us (and them) such a style exists! Jeanne Plas and Susan Lewis collaborated on person centered leadership and reported their findings in the 2001 Sage published book Person-Centered Leadership for Nonprofit Organizations. And we report our findings on their book in this report.
While there is certainly not a lack of resources covering Leadership as a general topic, there is not much source material covering the area of non-profit management. Knowing this, the authors of our selected book set out to fill that particular need. After examining many organizations such as the San Diego Zoo, the American Red Cross and several community action agencies operating at the local level, a trend began to emerge, the successful groups were using management strategies based on person centered leadership, a subset of participatory management.
Participatory management and leadership share decision making with group members. According to Plas & Lewis, in successful participatory environments, you are likely to find associates who feel more respected than those who are managed in more conventional ways (p.27).