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Management and Leadership in Nonprofits

Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


A leader’s job

May 05, 2021
By: Tammy T. Jelinek

As leaders we are often the ones writing, or at least influencing, a job description for our next team member. 

In this blog, we are going to discuss our own job description. 

There will be days where the “et all” at the end of your job description feels like that is all you have done that whole day. 

Here are some parts of the job description that I did not know as I was progressing in my career. And if you mentor emerging leaders, they may not realize it either.

As a leader, you will:

  • Clean up messes. Some of them may be physical messes right down to scrubbing toilets. Some of them will be people messes. And surprise, surprise, some may be messes that you caused.
  • Get some things done on your to-do list. Other days you will want to write things down that you have already done just to feel accomplished. 
  • Need to continually change your mind, and your way of doing work, to impact success and your team’s growth.
  • Get tired, frustrated and mad.
  • Get elevated, engaged and excited. 
  • Have people yell at you. And talk about you behind your back, and sometimes right to your face in ways that are not positive. 
  • Have someone cry in your midst. And you may have caused it, whether you thought you did or not, or whether you meant to do it or not. 
  • Make friends with those you lead. And then still need have very hard discussions with them, and you may even have to let them go. 
  • Question why you decided to lead numerous times.
  • Question why you did not ask to lead sooner in your career.

There are days you will feel smart.

There are days you wish you were smart.

Through it all, someone will be watching how you handle every situation, every day of your leadership journey. 

When you think about your job description, I hope it still gives you excitement and that you know you have the power to adjust our job description every day. You can add to it, you can subtract from it. We only need to focus on what we want on them every day.

“Et all” can also be reminders to focus on your self-growth, take care of yourself, do the hard stuff, and the fun stuff too! 

We added an emerging leader track to our virtual conference this year. I am excited about that because I wish I had attended more of those earlier in my career. Our Virtual Training Experience runs from July 26-30, 2021 — and I’ll be a trainer for many of the sessions — so be sure to register now to reserve your spot.

If you have any “as a leader I have had to do this” stories, let us hear them!

Wishing you a great day and remember: Lead with legacy – 

Related content:

Your path to leadership: Never forget where you came from
Nonprofit Priorities Benchmark 2021 Report
What nonprofit organizations need to know before upgrading technology
How a pay equity analysis can benefit nonprofits


Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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