3 Lessons: Risk Management

For Betsy Reid, effective leadership means taking chances.

Betsy Reid
Director of Communications
Georgia Center for Nonprofits

Dare to lead.

I began my association career 12 years ago as the founding executive director of a photographers' association. It was a leap of faith, but I learned as I went. Someone needed to go on the road and present an education series, so I did it. We applied for a Library of Congress research and education partnership and got it. Today I strive to continue daring by developing new ways to deliver fresh insight and resources to a member community of nonprofit organizations.

Everyone can be a leader.

The term is commonly used for those at the top or aspiring to get there. But forget job titles. Leadership is a state of mind that spurs action and inspires others. We become leaders when we care about what we do, when we believe that our work has value, and when we feel empowered tomake a difference.

Leadership means empowering others to lead.

Don't tell somebody, "We're looking for you to lead" if you can't support that person. Supervisors have a lot of pressure to get the job done: It takes focus and patience amid a busy schedule. So make time to share information, to exchange ideas and opinions, to give direction, guidance, and support. Provide opportunities that challenge people, and recognize the work they put into them.