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Your Secret Ingredient Is . .  A Culture of Candor

Transparent, Honest, Curious
Congratulations on building a Culture of Candor!
Your efforts are crucial to continuously improving your organization’s decision making and impact. You know that hiding, dismissing or ignoring realities doesn’t help anyone in the organization.
In fact, your gold standard is a team that is open about the opportunities, tensions and challenges they face because you love transforming conflict and tension into opportunities to grow and learn.
Plus, your listening skills are the best!
How Do I Lead With Candor?
Here are ways you’re most likely leading already, because they are tried and true methods for creating a Culture of Candor.
And hey . . if you notice something on this list that you’re not doing, try it out!
You already have the inclination towards building a Culture of Candor, so why not amplify your recipe for success?
  • You express your challenges, thoughts and opinions in a professional, productive manner
  • You are intentional about holding consistent conversations to create a healthy level of honest and open communication at your organization
  • You have processes and avenues for your team members to address gossip, and share information heard ‘off-line’, so nothing festers
  • You practice transparency beginning with the hiring process, and continuing through the evaluation and management structures put in place
  • You strive to create a learning environment with clear goals and expectations, ways to ask for help when it is needed and a structured review process
  • You value self-reflection and professional growth - and your team members know it
What else might be helpful to add to your recipe for leadership success?
There are four leadership postures that successful nonprofit executive directors incorporate into their cultures:
  1. Generosity
  2. Candor
  3. Support
  4. Safety

The beauty of these postures is that no matter the situation or skill level of the individuals involved, they are accessible and achievable for anyone willing to do the emotional work of being in productive, authentic relationships.

Check them out below and see what sounds good to you!

Hi, I'm Michele!

I’m an executive coach who focuses on helping ambitious nonprofit leaders amplify their intuition, insights and impact.


With 30+ experience leading, directing and volunteering at national and local non-profits, I know what it takes to run an organization from all sides.


Nonprofit work is inspiring and powerful. Yet, it can also be challenging.


Clients often come to me overwhelmed, isolated and facing unrealistic expectations. During our time together we are able to unravel what leadership skills are working for them - and what aren’t, expand their repertoire, and keep their passion alive so they thrive in their roles.


Let's stay connected, now that we’ve met!


You can find me on LinkedIn or check out my blog and other resources.

Four Cultures of Thriving Nonprofit Leaders
A Culture of Support

Support is a critical element to ensuring your relationship with your team members is functioning in a healthy and productive manner. Showing support by cheering one another on not only feels good, but sets the stage for success when you must hold the necessary conversations around constructive feedback and realignment.

Want to practice
leading with a Culture of Support?
What about writing down the strengths you notice in each member of your team and sharing them out loud at your next staff meeting or retr
eat? What’s the point? Being noticed improves team member’s morale and fosters a stronger relationship between you and them. This leads to better working relationships, less human resource challenges and greater impact. 

A Culture of Candor
Candor is the way to build a culture of continuous improvement. When people are open about what they don’t know, they are able to find the support, lessons and practice time to get better. When individuals and organizations are open about where they need support and how they want to improve, it allows for strong decision making and increased impact.

Want to practice leading with a Culture of Candor?

What about creating an open channel for feedback, either anonymously or not? Why? If you’re informed of the impact of your leadership on others, you can shift your style to maximize your team’s impact. Perhaps you can ask: ‘When you give your opinion, do you feel listened to?’, ‘Do you feel supported in your projects & initiatives?’ or ‘Are there any items you would like to discuss that would make your work life more productive and sustainable?’. 

A Culture of Safety
Safety is the base of a healthy and sustainable future for an organization. Leaders who create a Culture of Safety are building a deep level of trust across their team. This allows them to understand, accept and handle any challenges that arise with grace. If these leaders are moving forward towards their strategic goals around client and community impact, then everything is ok.

Want to practice leading with a Culture of Safety?

What about sharing a bad decision that you made (that is relevant to the agenda) and how it was resolved in your next team meeting? Why? To model the understanding that even well thought out plans don’t always work, but being adaptable and centered allow unique solutions to emerge. 

A Culture of Generosity
Generosity is a key element of innovative and positive organizations. Leaders who create a Culture of Generosity more clearly understand what is going on around them. This allows them to tap into opportunities they might otherwise miss and identify solutions that could have been overlooked.

Want to practice leading with a Culture of Generosity?
What about creating time in your next meeting to catch up on any major personal or professional updates? The primary goal? Finding time to acknowledge current realities and celebrate successes.

Keep up the good work. You’ve got this!

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