The Johnson Center is proud to preview our forthcoming Competency Models for Nonprofit Inclusive Leadership, a paired set of competency models for nonprofit organizational staff and board members. An explanation of the models, how we went about compiling them, and a representation of how these two models are intended to work in tandem are included here. The complete models will be available to the public in May 2021.

These parallel competency models document — through research and validation — the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) associated with effective, inclusive leadership in the nonprofit sector. What connects the two is that, in each case, the listed KSAO is described further in its application for staff members and for board members, in two distinct tracks.

The Competency Models for Nonprofit Inclusive Leadership are designed to be used to identify, prepare, hire, onboard, and evaluate organization staff and volunteer board leaders. They are also valuable for individuals and teams of practitioners looking to chart their own professional progress and skill-building.

There are a variety of routes to a career in the nonprofit sector. People become leaders by leveraging undergraduate and graduate degrees, working their way up through organizations, and, particularly in the case of board service, through personal and professional connections.

The paths to these positions sometimes leave us with a sector whose leadership is lacking in diversity — especially racial diversity — and by extension, inclusive leadership practices. Because competency models rely on KSAOs, they have the potential to contribute to a stronger, more diverse sector that leads with inclusiveness.

Performance and promotion practices also vary widely in method and quality. We hope that competency models will allow us to align the knowledge and practices we collectively agree make for effective leadership, and, as a sector, to use those benchmarks to prepare, hire, evaluate, and promote leaders.

Read the full article about competency models by Leslie Starsoneck at Johnson Center.