publication date: Nov 18, 2011
author/source: Janet Gadeski
Achievement in your current role, no matter how much you
excel, is just the beginning of becoming a leader, says SickKids Foundation
. Professionals who aspire to leadership roles need to do much more
than just beat their fundraising targets.
Garrard's thought a lot about what makes a leader. He's made
the leap to leadership himself and mentors other leaders. His own commitment to
growth led him to co-create D3 - Debate,
, AFP Toronto
September event for charity CEOs. That gives you a hint of his first principle
of leadership - the learning is never over, no matter how high you rise.
Start learning in your first position. "If someone wants to
promote themselves into a leadership role," Garrard advises, "they should learn
all they can about their organization beyond their own job."
Ask lots of questions, he recommends. Find collaborative
opportunities within the organization that will teach you about its other
aspects - and don't limit your explorations to the fundraising function. "As I
think of promoting," he reveals, "I look at the extent to which candidates
tried to learn beyond the portfolio they're responsible for."
Take advantage of formal professional development
opportunities through organizations such as AFP
. Look beyond
sector organizations to acquire the other skills you'll need, whether time
management, productivity planning or public speaking.
The next must-have on Garrard's leadership list is the
extent to which an individual relates well to people. In leadership roles, he
explains, the demands to collaborate, communicate and relate become even more
important. Those skill sets will make you comfortable with a great variety of
stakeholders, an essential leadership quality in our sector.
Though we often think that people skills are an innate gift,
Garrard says they can be learned. "Part of that comes from watching, observing
others, and being open to that kind of feedback," he counsels. "If we're doing
our job as leaders, we're providing that to our staff."
At his charity, that means formal sessions with outside
experts on communication skills and collaboration. If your organization doesn't
offer that, look for independent programs and seek individual mentoring. You
won't go far without the learned gift of relating.
Show you believe!
Garrard gives a lot of weight to your contributions apart
from work. That means volunteering with other charities and sector professional
organizations. A track record of achievement in such roles demonstrates that
you're a serious professional with a good sector network and a strong
commitment to giving back.
You'll reap another benefit too. Serving on the other side
of the staff/volunteer fence gives you insight into what volunteers need from
staff to fulfil their responsibilities effectively. You can take that back into
your workplace to better support your own volunteers.
Helping and being
Success as a leader often depends on your ability to articulate
passion for your mission and win people over, Garrard reflects. Work on both
your written and oral communication skills. Mentors can be especially helpful
here, offering frank, friendly feedback as you reflect on successes and
"I was lucky to have fantastic mentors in and beyond my
sector," he recalls. "Not all learning comes from organized activities and professional
development sessions. Identify what will improve you
- then find mentors.
People are pleased to be asked. I've taken the time to mentor many people, and
I applaud them for asking for it. Many have gone on to do great things."
If you ask Garrard how he nurtures his talents now, he
readily credits the support of others across the country. He participates in
formal networks such as the National
Council of Foundation Executives
and a forum for top North American
And when he can't find what he needs next - well, being a
leader, he creates it. That's how he became involved in D3, a day-long
conference that drew 150 Canadian charity CEOs to hear "provocative speakers
that helped us look differently at what we do."
"Time challenges are the biggest reason that some executives
don't engage with others. But leaders have to take ownership of getting
together and offering value," he comments.
Garrard challenges today's leaders to tackle the
impending leadership gap resulting from mass retirements among aging Boomers.
While many in the sector fret, he prefers to emphasize that he sees many very
talented younger people. But a short-term focus on raising money and building
donor relationships could leave us high and dry in a few years, he warns. "We
fail as leaders today if we don't do all we can to develop the leaders of
AFP Greater Toronto Chapter
information, contact Ted Garrard.