Opposites Attract: Moving Up In Your Career

As the economic recovery chugs slowly along, people wonder what they have to do to find work, and employers wonder what they have to do to find worthwhile applicants.

Yes, despite the huge numbers of people out of work, many organizations complain of a startling lack of qualified employees. In their book “The A+ Solution,” John Bell and Christine Smith argue that there are actions leaders can take to improve the employee pool, both in terms of existing employees and applicants, by helping the people who need jobs, many of whom require some kind of updated education or training. They offer three basic steps:

  • Education. Discover available training programs and resources by occupation and industry; Research current eligible training providers in the organization’s area; Evaluate education program offerings; and, Identify the organization’s needs, and then learn about program offerings and training resources available through associations.
  • Communication. Find state and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs); Contact the local WIB and One-Stop Career Center; and, Write to legislators, making them aware of the problems or challenges facing your industry.
  • Advocacy. Identify the appropriate contact, federal, state and local; Do your homework; and Write to legislators.

Being the king (or queen) is good, unless it isn’t, as attested by a host of literary and historical characters.

And once they are in the door, there is always the need for leadership inside the organization. Demographics indicate that there will be a huge need during the next few years. Individuals seeking to move up do so for a variety of reasons. But, some of them are actually hit full-face with the realities of leadership.

During the recent Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference on Fundraising, Thomas W. Mesaros, president and CEO of the Alford Group, and Sharon Moulds, executive director and CEO of the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said that being aware of those realities can help prepare would-be bosses for the job and even warn off those who might not realize what is entailed.

They said the following realities should be fully known and understood:

  • Discovering the real challenges of being a leader;
  • Knowing that it really is lonely at the top;
  • Being confident;
  • Not being afraid to ask for advice, for help or for insights;
  • Never being in a rush;
  • Dallying: Don’t;
  • Realizing that there is always more to learn;
  • Remembering that, in the long run, financial are crucial to a nonprofit CEO’s success; and,
  • Understanding that a CEO will be remembered for programmatic results.