phi-lead’thro-pist n. – an unusually effective leader in the field of philanthropy.
In my last blog entry I wrote about the integration of leadership and philanthropy, accenting several studies which suggested characteristics of effective leaders. Based on those characteristics, I invite you to think with me about the traits that characterize phileadthropists – those effective leaders in the world of philanthropy.
From my experience, phileadthropists evidence:
- Integrity – the alignment of spoken values and behavior. Doing what we say and saying what we do.
- Adaptive Agility – the ability to scan donors and situations and envision how what is happening now will impact the future and to change course when needed;
- Cross-Cultural Savvy – the ability to see and appreciate multiple donor perspectives, especially political, religious, and cultural differences;
- Vision – the ability to inspire, involve, and gain consensus around organizational direction and goals;
- Professional Astuteness – ambitiousness, but moreso for the organization and less for self.
- Focus – an unusual ability to determine and act upon those issues which will produce the biggest benefit for the organization;
- A Habit of Curiosity – a disposition which regularly asks questions with the desire to learn more about people and our world.
Think about the phileadthropists you know – those super successful advancement professionals. How many of these 7 characteristics do they evidence? My bet is many. In my experience, advancement professionals who evidence these characteristics can not help but be effective. The person embodying these 7 characteristics should be leading your development office.