The New CEO – The Heart, Not the Head

CEOs of the best nonprofits to work for with I love my job coffee mugs



I’ve been fortunate to work with some really great organizations in my life, all of them boasting great missions and incredible staff members. But the most successful organizations have one thing in common: incredible founders. They are key to making an organization one of the best nonprofits to work for.


I recently watched this short video on Whole Foods’ Co-CEO John Mackey discusses the evolution of his management style and how he learned to keep his ego in check, especially in front of store associates.


Mackey talks about the importance of showcasing his heart, rather than his mind. I found this statement incredibly powerful.

Whitepaper from Donor Drive
I’ve worked with a wide range of nonprofits. I’ve seen organizations just getting started with founders who are overworked, underpaid and, well, tired. I’ve seen well-established organizations with founders who’ve lost touch with the core values and the original mission statement. And I’ve seen the transition of a growing organization – the moment the founder gets to hire someone who can run the organization while he focuses on the very reason he started the organization in the first place.


No matter what level your organization falls in, there is no better time than now to take a look at your management style and make sure your ego is in check. Here are some great things to think about when doing a little self examination:


Check your negativity at the door. Your attitude is everything and your emotions are magnified to staff members, donors and bystanders…especially if there’s already a bit of uneasiness present.


Show your heart and leave the mind part to your staff. Remember why you started the organization, or why you joined the organization, in the first place. Let your staff do what they do best – let them think and run the day-to-day operations. Encourage them to keep thinking and trust them to make the right decisions and only step in when it’s needed. Be the figurehead. Be the voice. Be the face of the organization.


Truly care about your staff. Care about your staff members. It’s as simple as that. People who have great things to say about the people they work with, especially their boss, can be some of your best assets. They obviously trust and admire you and your work, so give them the same in return.


Do what you do best. Nobody’s perfect. Your staff growth strategy should focus on the parts of the business that you don’t like to do, or that you don’t excel at. And there are plenty of people, I’m sure, who will be honored, and very capable, of filling those areas.