Organizational Capacity in Non-Profit Organizations Research Paper

Pages: 15 (5912 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Leadership

Organizational Capacity in Non-Profit Organizations

Mentorship as Leadership

Theoretical Support

The concept of mentoring is certainly not new, both in academic and cultural life. However, for the past two decades, the conceptual framework in the non-profit sector has moved from a more traditional hierarchy of leadership roles to a more open system in which the paradigm and basis has turned more towards mentoring in a more dual edged approach, i.e. For both internal and external stakeholders. For most of recorded history, students of a trade or skill have studied under mentors in some sort of an apprenticeship program designed to allow acumen to pass from one generation to another. No organization can thrive without adequate leadership. This is particularly true in situations in which there is a hierarchical administrative structure, but no regularly supervisor or assistance with tasks. This is particularly true in the contemporary non-profit organization, where conflicting multiple horizontal priorities are the norm, budgets are randomly cut, and the relative fiscal compensation ratio quite low. Thus, what becomes immediately apparent is the need for a system of mentors to help bridge the gap between theory and practice, between what happens in textbooks and what happens in reality. We will combine a thorough review of leadership theory with both a problem solving approach to leadership within the non-profit organization of the 21st century.

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Research Paper on Organizational Capacity in Non-Profit Organizations Assignment

Leadership is one of the core aspects of business, government, education, the military, and social life. It so permeates society that scholars, political scientists, and academics have been trying to find a definitive way to express leadership. True, leadership is, in part, decision making at the nth level. Decision-making, of course, is one of the fundamental keys to the survival of an organization, more so now that economic boundaries between countries crumble, business becomes more complex, and the results of decisions often have global impact (Rhodes, 2002). The ability to innovate, make decisions, rank priorities, and see the larger picture are part of being effective as a leader -- making these traits pivotal in defining the role of leadership within the organization. (Porter, 1998). Managers, in particular, realize that if their organizations are to survive in this dynamic and uncertain environment, they have to make decisions concerning new business opportunities, products, customers, suppliers, markets and technical developments. Clearly, the role of a leader is one who has the managerial attribute is the ability to make the right decisions at the right time (Anderson, 2010; Drucker, 2001).

That being said, leaders and managers are not the same, just as leadership theory and managerial theory are similar but not synonymous. In general, a manager is someone who conducts and organizes affairs, projects, or people. By its very nature, management is leading, therefore they need followers. Even though the manager may be in charge, most of the time they do not lead; but instead, focus on their managers/leaders for direction to plan, schedule, produce under time constraints, and figure out tasks (Brown, 2001). Thus, instead of looking at the strategic whole, management is often tactical. Leaders, however, do not have subordinates within their organizations; instead, they have followers, typically uncoerced. True leadership is inspirational, motivating, and while focusing on the individual, helps make that individual into more than they are. Thus, it is critical for the leader to assist in helping individuals accomplish their goals. According to Kouzes and Posner (1994), five key behaviors for what is wanted of leaders from both people and organizations are: "(a) challenge the process, (b) inspire a shared vision, (c) enable others to act, (d) model the way, and (e) encourage the heart" (p. 960).

Mentorship as Leadership

Most mentorships, according to Johnston (2009), actually fail due to lack of resources and follow-through. There are five major reasons for this disconnect:

1. Failure of top-level administrators (e.g. leaders) to advocate and support the specific mentor or mentoring program.

2. The goals of the mentorship lack clear definition from the stakeholders.

3. The goals for the mentorship are identified, but lack alignment to the organization's overall strategic setting.

4. There is inadequate or non-existent education and training programs for either the mentor or student.

5. There are critical gaps in important processes and systems within the program itself.

Despite some of the challenges, under the umbrella of leadership paradigms, mentoring programs seem to be effective in reaching people and contributing to their overall self-image, self-esteem issues and promoting success (Gehrke, Jenkins, Miskovetez, & Wray, 2004).

Leadership takes on less formal, more psychological roles, than management- even though it is possible to combine them. An effective leader is rarely content with the process, but not necessarily controversial, just change agents. Leaders challenge current beliefs and practices and take the initiative to propose and establish better ways of doing things. Leaders do not wait for things to be done, they do them. Leaders inspire a shared vision. Using authority does not appeal to leaders or their followers. The true leader is inspiring, motivates, and appeals to others based on a shared vision that enables everyone to act and fulfill their potential. They make information readily available and empower people to their full potential. Leaders help others achieve their goals. Leaders model the way. Leaders demonstrate their beliefs in their actions. They speak honestly about their vision and do what they believe is right. Leaders encourage the heart. Showing appreciation and providing rewards are ways leaders show encouragement and motivate others (Kouzes). Leaders create change, focus on leading people, have followers, have long-term goals and are proactive. They create a vision, approach the vision by setting the direction, facilitate in decision-making, and use personal charisma (Shea, 1999). Leaders appeal to the heart, are persuasive by selling their vision, want achievement, take risks, and break rules. They also have a transformational style, exchange excitement for work, use conflict to resolve issues, and make new roads. Most of all, leaders are concerned about what is right, give credit to others, and take the responsibility for what may go wrong (Finklestein,, 2009).Because there are no strict definitions for leadership, but rather a series, as we have noted, of traits, attributes, and behaviors, possibly the most inclusive way to describe leadership is "ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen" (Kouzes, 2008).

Over the past decade many school institutions, universities, and youth organizations have embarked upon the mentoring bus. Today, youth are geared towards electronic devices (laptops, cell phone frenzy, text messages, I=-phone applications) and social networks (Facebook, Twitter, and more) Mentoring can be achieved by using those electronic devices in many different ways: face-to-face, email, social networks, and online youth groups, but still allowing students to experience the nature of the special relationship between "Master" and "apprentice."

Literature Review

Because there are no strict definitions for leadership, but rather a series, as we have noted, of traits, attributes, and behaviors, possibly the most inclusive way to describe leadership is "ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen" (Kouzes, 2007). For the purposes of this essay, though, we will define four basic theories of leadership: the Trait Theory, The Behavioral/Style Theory, The Functional Theory, and finally the Transactional/Transformational Theory.

The trait theory, one of the earliest in scholarly literature holds that it is the type of personality and behaviors associated that determines great leadership. Thomas Carlyle, in fact, took leadership scholarship in more of a defined term; using what we now know of as anthropology and sociology to profile what makes an effective leader (Carlyle, 2000). This view also posits that by defining what real leaderhip is, one can bring out those traits in others- ostensibly training by encouraging and amplifying certain traits within the individual. In fact, leadership is highly situational and contextual. A special chemistry often develops between leaders and followers within the locus of the organization or project need" (Wren, 1995, 30).

The functional model moves forward from behaviorism, holding that the leader's primary function is to envision what is necessary for group efficiency and cohesion. This leadership theory is more likened to team leadership, middle management, and posits that there are five overt skills this type of leader exhibits: 1) constant monitoring of the group or environment without appearing to be micromanaging, 2) organizing subordinate activities, 3) continual coaching of subordinates, 4) acting primarily as a motivator, and 5) intervening actively in the group's work (Hackman, 2002). For instance, this type of individuated "situational" leadership is not too common today; save perhaps the conductor of a classical orchestra. Within this group, a number of professionals are brought together as an ensemble as opposed to soloists. The individual members are so skilled they rarely need any additional training, yet when coming together as a group the leader coaches and leads by allowing the best traits of the members out while still retaining a vision of the performance (Northous, 2006). Also, besides the five overt skills this leadership model exhibits there are additional functions that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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