Steve Gavatorta: What motivates you?
Linda Nelson: I love my job. I am really
lucky to have chosen a career where I have the
opportunity to help people achieve their educational
goals while working with a diverse and talented
group of people. That combination really gets me up
in the morning!
Steve Gavatorta: How do you motivate your
Linda Nelson: I make sure everyone feels
appreciated and see's their part in our larger
mission. Twice a year, I reward them with a staff
retreat where we get out of the office and go to
someone's house outside of the City or to a beach
retreat. We eat and laugh and do some work-related
but fun team-building exercises. I find that the
time away from the office pays off immensely in the
way the team works together when we get back to the
Steve Gavatorta: Describe your leadership
Linda Nelson: I am a relaxed, hands-off
leader. I let me employees know that I trust them to
do their best at each task. If I get a product back
that is not as expected, I ask them if there was
something I could have done to have been more clear
in my instructions. I find that my staff work harder
if I do not micromanage them and it helps them to be
better decision makers if they are not dependent on
me for everything.
Steve Gavatorta: Who do you consider a
good leader/role model & why?
Linda Nelson: Professionally, it would
have to be Peter Drucker. Non-profits often have the
reputation of being unorganized and unprofessional.
He shows us that successful non-profits need to run
like a business.
Steve Gavatorta: How do you continue to
lead through times of adversity?
Linda Nelson: I make sure I communicate
with my staff so there are no surprises. If there
are budget problems, I let them know in advance what
our strategy will be to address them (and ask for
their input). If layoffs may occur, I prepare them
in advance, sometimes individually, so they have as
much time as possible to come up with alternative
Steve Gavatorta: Tell me of some unique
approaches you've used in managing, leading and/or
motivating your team?
Linda Nelson: Sometimes if I am not sure a
team member has the skills for a certain task, I
pair them with someone else and have them figure it
out together. This allows them to gain confidence
from their accomplishments as a team so that maybe
they'll be able to do it themselves next time.
Steve Gavatorta: Do you have any suggested
reading on Management, Motivation and/or Leadership?
Linda Nelson: "The Leadership for
Challenge" by Kouzes and Posner; "Managing to Have
Fun" by Matt Weinstein and "1001 Ways to Reward
Employees" by Bob Nelson.
Steve Gavatorta: Thanks for your time, Linda.
Photo by Juliana Thomas at www.jtphoto.com