In this season of COVID-19 shelter-at-home, where might I find you right now? Are you sitting at your dining table, reading your email over a cup of coffee? Walking through the neighborhood, scrolling your phone for the news? Trying to make your children breakfast before attempting to both homeschool and accomplish a few of your own tasks? Or are you headed into the hospital, grocery store, or social service office, where your work has been dubbed “essential”?
Because you are visiting Women’s Nonprofit Alliance’s blog, you have one thing in common with the rest of us: We are women who lead. And effective leaders are often in close proximity with the work that’s being done, whether it’s a team of employees, classroom of children, or group of volunteers who need to be led. Says Kat Cole, successful businesswoman, “Your job as leader is to stay as close in touch as possible with those closest to the action.”
However, as a leader, you do your followers a disservice if you rarely pause to evaluate the work being done. In tune with this year’s theme of 2020 Vision, our April mantra is to “take an inside look – work on your ministry, not just in it.” This pandemic has granted many of us mandated, yet God-given, time at home. Here are three questions you can contemplate while at your dining table, on your walk, or during meal preparation. You may also find it helpful to pray and journal about these questions during time set aside in a quiet place. We would love to hear your insights – you can share in the comments below or tag us on social media (@womensnpa)!
- Who are you trying to serve?
Take time to evaluate your target audience. When you initially began to lead, who did you dream of serving? What do they want or need? Once a product or service has been launched, it can be tempting to stick with what you have. The system works, the workflow runs smoothly, the team knows what to do. However, is this what your audience is actually asking for?
Also examine whether you are actually reaching your audience. Consider your marketing strategy and communication touch points. How could you more effectively enter the inbox, news feed, or mailbox of people who care about what you have to give and spark a conversation?
P.S. Our Members and Alliance Partners have access to a wealth of marketing tips. Visit our Facebook group for weekly videos covering different marketing channels, messaging ideas, and audience insights.
- What do you want to achieve?
If you haven’t already, take a few moments to write your organization’s long-term goals and outcomes on paper and post it on your wall. Leaders need guideposts to direct them when the going gets tough or messy. By defining three to ten clear, measurable goals, you have a map to reference when you need guidance.
Goals can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively. Quantitative measurement uses numbers, and is found through regular surveys, monetary growth, and other numeric progress evaluation methods. These kinds of goals are mandatory for grant applications, annual reports, and major donor appeals. On the other hand, qualitative measurement looks behind the data and often involves anecdotes and personal testimonies. Qualitative goals may focus on your audience’s spiritual or mental health, professional development, and other hard-to- measure outcomes. Both quantitative and qualitative measurements are important for your goal-setting and ensure you have a way to assess your achievement!
And on a personal note, what do you hope to gain from leadership experience? Summoning your personal aspirations can motivate you to lead in difficult times such as these. Remember your heart behind stepping into this leadership role, and consider whether you are leading in a way that is consistent with your original vision.
- What is God calling you to do next?
Proverbs 19:21 shares, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” When was the last time you sought direction from the Lord on His plans for your leadership? Recall any successes, achievements, or smooth processes that are a result of His divine inspiration and work through you. We lead as vessels of God’s holy work.
Jesus says in Luke 12:48 that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” As an inspired leader, you have been given many gifts and trusted with great vision from the Lord. He simply asks that you lean on Him and continually seek direction from the Holy Spirit.
We can’t wait to hear what thoughtful insights you discover this season!