Executive Directors: Is it ok to be all things to all people?

Photo by craigmdennis

Nonprofit Leadership 601 asked an interesting question in her post “Are we asking too much of our Executive Directors?” and says “As a sector we should work harder to support the strengths of our Executive Directors rather than asking them to be all things to all people.”

While she makes an interesting point, that Executive Directors are expected to be responsible for pretty much everything, I’m not sure that is a bad thing. Doesn’t the very definition of being a CEO, President, or Executive Director include having ultimate responsibility for all aspects of an organization? That is why it is such an important job. Those that have the role of Executive Director typically have worked in multiple areas of an organization.

While no one expects that an Executive Director is perfect at everything, they must have some foundational knowledge of the different aspects of a nonprofit organization. Plus, those that seek the position typically know what they are getting themselves into. Which brings me to an important point (and what I think is the point of her article), to help reduce turnover make sure that those you hire understand all that is expected of them.


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