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Did Your Organization Lose Its Executive Director? The Top 10 Skillsets To Look For In Your Next Executive Director?

Losing your executive director one day is not only possible but will happen sometime in the future. To be ready for succession, the Board should know what skillsets and characteristics they value in an executive director. While these will differ by organization, this is a roster of the top 10 most commonly searched executive director skillsets and characteristics:

  1. Organizational Capacity – Creates robust organizational systems and processes, and fosters employee and volunteer leadership to enable the attainment of the association’s strategic goals
  2. Member Engagement – Fosters an engaged community of members that value and utilize the association’s programs and services 
  3. Professional Development and Business Success – Enhances members’ business and professional success through delivering exceptional services, programs and tailored education, which are relevant to a dynamic industry environment
  4. Community Engagement – Has a visible and positive impact in the communities the association’s members serve
  5. Advocacy – Impacts and positively influences public policy actions both locally and nationally
  6. Communicator – Has excellent communication skills including the ability to articulate the value of the association to its members, stakeholders and the community; communicates directly and clearly with staff and volunteers; and possesses active listening skills 
  7. Builder – Ability to build (recruit & retain), lead and motivate an effective team of staff, volunteers and leadership
  8. Leadership – Demonstrates a respectful, honest, transparent, and ethical leadership style 
  9. Diversity – Respect for and ability to promote diversity on the Board, staff and with members
  10. Innovative – Progressive, innovative thoughtful leadership

The departure of your organization’s executive director doesn’t have to be disastrous. The key is being prepared and having a succession plan in place that can be launched whether the departure is voluntary or involuntary.  Develop your succession plan today so you are prepared for whatever tomorrow holds!