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Is Your President a Leader?

By Gerry Czarnecki

There’s no doubt most presidents or executive directors of nonprofits have a passion for the cause. The real question is, “Is that executive a leader?”

Candidly, our experience on this point is not good.

Too many who get into the “doing good” business have a tendency to be passionate, but they have little or no knowledge or experience in understanding what managing and leading is all about.

Knowing the answer to that question could be the difference between your organization’s success – or failure.

Leadership failure often results in an “I would rather do it myself” mindset. If that happens, the president eventually will run out of hours in the day to do all the work. A boss must use his or time more wisely: Leadership is part science (left brain) and – perhaps more – part art (right brain).

So how do you know if you have a leader? There are no surefire ways to know, but here are some factors to consider. (None of these is an absolute test.)

• Does the president talk about vision and values? Or is every presentation based on quantitative factors?

• Are presentations to the board made by employees in addition to the president? Or is every one done entirely by him or her?

• Does the board have access to staff members? Or are they kept at a distance?

• Does the board feel good about its relationship with the president? Or is there a degree of tension?

• Have you seen sensitivity in the way the president speaks to the staff? Or is he or she gruff and insensitive?

• Do employees seem happy in their work? Or does they show signs of fear or intimidation?

• Do employees seem to like and respect the boss? Or is there obvious tension?

• Does the president share the credit for success and take blame for failure? Or does he or she take credit for success and blame failures on the team?

• Do employees feel empowered and responsible? Or do they seem like functionaries following the boss’ orders?

• Would you find it easy to work for the president? Or would your styles or personalities clash?

For each factor, if you answered “yes” to the first question most of the time, then you might have a leader. If you mostly answered “yes” to the second question, you might have a leadership challenge – and it could be time to start paying more attention.

Gerry Czarnecki is founder and chairman of the nonprofit National Leadership Institute (nationalleadershipinstitute.org), which helps boards of nonprofit organizations become strategic assets to the leadership team. His extensive background as a C-suite executive and CEO is coupled with current board leadership of corporate and nonprofit organizations. He is also chairman and CEO of the Deltennium Group. Contact him at 561.293.3726 or
gmc@deltennium.com.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.