Greetings UJAA Family!

As the end of the pandemic brings new hope for nonprofit organizations everywhere, and as the UJAA Family embarks under a “new” leadership team, our collective sights are set on the future. These are the hopes of all the member associations who are naturally excited to continue to grow and to develop their organizations as we begin to return to F2F activities.

It is important that we exhibit an ability to motivate team members, hold members accountable, and provide a greater sense of mission, remembering how we pivoted over the last three years, what worked and what did not, and how we learned and responded.

I bring this to your attention, not as a reprimand, not as a criticism, but as a reminder, as a consideration.

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.” Matthew 20:26
…in order for us to be leaders, we must become servants first…

We often discuss the technical skills that leaders need to be successful in encouraging hard work and success amongst their teams. Many times leaders assume that they must be assertive and dominant in many ways that can express their confidence in their ability to lead, but it can deter engagement, creativity and collaboration.

The exact same is true in non-profit organizations that engage volunteers.

It has long been debated whether leaders are born or if they can be taught to lead. The truth is that individuals can be trained in nonprofit management skills to become better leaders of organizations if they are provided with the right development opportunities. This is the key to continuous growth in our organizations. This is precisely what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic for many of us in our UJAA family.

To each of you reading my message, consider this:

-Be honest with yourself… when was the last time you asked for feedback on your performance as a leader because you truly wanted to know where you could improve?

-Be self-aware and transparent about your strengths and weaknesses and how they affect the strengths and weaknesses of others on your team. You never know what the result of asking might be, commenting, and responding might be. It could lead to the start of succession planning within your membership.

-Consider sharing your thoughts with your BMLs, consider responding to emails from Board Members asking for your input and ideas on subject matters to have discussions, internal learning sessions, and agenda items for UJAA’s Leadership Academy, and responding to the Skills Set Survey.

This is when and where true leadership, engaging leadership, is derived. Let us all consider this…that Leadership is teamwork!

Karlene Largie
Corresponding Secretary

Education is Empowerment, Only the Educated are Free