Nonprofit co-leadership offers many benefits. It can enhance shared decision making and even provide a sturdy on-ramp for a successor, among other benefits. But how do nonprofit leaders make co-leadership really work? Five leaders share a handful of practices that have helped.
“Powerful and liberating.” Those are the words Shari Davis chooses to describe her experience with nonprofit co-leadership. Davis serves as co-executive director of the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), a national nonprofit organization committed to ensuring that community members can make direct decisions about public budgets, policies, and tax dollar spending. She shares the co-executive director role with two fellow co-leaders – Kristina Banks and Kristania (Kris) De Leon. By creating an intentionally shared leadership structure, these three co-leaders not only empower and uplift one another, they also embody their organization’s ethos of distributed decision making.
Monisha Kapila, founder and co-CEO at ProInspire, agrees that clearly defining areas of responsibility is an effective way to minimize disagreements in a co-leadership structure. “We’ve used OKRs [Objectives and Key Results] to define annual goals in a very specific way, and then we identify which co-CEO has responsibility for each of those goals,” she said.
Read the full article about making co-leadership work at The Bridgespan Group.