Leading our Future

Leading our Future: Leadership Competencies in Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector

Future nonprofit leaders will need to demonstrate leadership through seven key roles:

Builder: The nonprofit leader of the future will build strong, adaptive, and diverse organizations that embody clear visions, missions, and values. The leader will build internal capacity and external relationships with communities and other stakeholders.

Thinker: The nonprofit environment is complex and it will be important for future leaders to anticipate change, understand the dynamics at play, assess data, and analyze situations and environments. Leaders must thoughtfully develop strategy, and support reflection and learning within the organization and community.

Mentor: A nonprofit leader must also be a mentor to support growth and development in employees and volunteers. The leader must be authentic and demonstrate qualities of empathy, sensitivity, trust, and openness. Future leaders will model perseverance, patience, and resilience in dealing with complex and uncertain environments.

Storyteller: Future leaders will communicate the nonprofit mission and value compellingly and honestly, and will develop and champion a strong and clear brand for the organization within the broader community.

Innovator: Future nonprofit leaders must be curious and encourage efforts to experiment and take reasonable risks. They will promote learning as a result of development and change and will continually adapt and adjust to a dynamic environment.

Connector: The nonprofit leader of the future will develop relationships, networks, and partnerships to further the organization’s mission and impact. This includes sharing knowledge and ideas and collaborating within and across sectors. The leader will be skilled at listening for diverse voices and negotiating to resolve conflict.

Steward: Future leaders must direct, manage, and protect the human, capital, and financial resources of the organization. They will plan for longer-term organizational development, introduce technology and management strategies to strengthen capacity, and demonstrate accountability and transparency in communicating about performance and promote effective decision-making and governance.