Summary: With major influence, a leader should show a positive attitude to the employees in order to create a healthy work environment, motivate, and welcome innovational ideas. People naturally respond better when they are treated with respect and appreciation rather than with constant criticism.

In today’s podcast, Stephen and Deborah will dive into their recommendations for any leader. They believe that showing appreciation to your employees has deemed to be most effective. They also review methods of expressing constructive criticism to employees in ways that will leave the employee with a clear vision for improvement. Leadership is a learned skill, so, leaders can learn, grow, and develop to be great. Learn how to be a positive leader with Stephen and Deborah today.

Having Positive Leadership Skills

The bottom line is leaders have to accomplish organizational goals no matter what business they are in. Results can be best accomplished when staff and employees motivate, engage, and really connect to the work. Positive leadership is really about getting the work done, creating a positive organizational culture, and employee engagement.

There is a research study regarding how positivity is impactful in the connection between team member interactions and organizational results. At the end of the study, it was found that teams who have a 7 to 1 ratio, positive to negative, were the highest performing teams, in which these members had high self-awareness and high-quality positivity. Positivity has the greatest follow-through for all sorts of business implications including employee retention and sense of purpose across each position.

Executive Director and Nonprofit Board Leadership Decision Making

Influence is making your point powerful from the other person‘s perspective. Influence goes a long way toward helping motivate and engage employees. If employees report to you directly, you could say “because I said so” to explain your reasoning for something, but you would get a better result if you influence that person around something that matters to them.

Many managers do not bother with thinking about the mindset of the employees, but they instead continue micromanaging their staff in order to have control. If they do not like it, the employee will be fired, creating lots of human resources issues. What these managers have to understand is that their employees still have a choice, and they will not bring their best selves to work if they feel like they do not have a choice. Improve your leadership style by being a good leader and role model to your employees instead of bringing them down.

If you want your people to go above and beyond with their responsibilities, you have to treat them with positivity. Jobs are hard, and people love hearing they have done a good job. If a manager tells you that you have done a great job on an assignment, does it motivate you or demotivate you? Using positive and encouraging words is an effective methodology that motivates employees because they are being appreciated. People are even more motivated when they know what positive impact they have done and the difference that has been created.

Showing Appreciation to Your Employees

Deborah grew up believing if nobody said anything about your performance, then you were doing a fine job. When she became a coach, she started to acknowledge the things that she saw people doing well. Deborah saw a positive transformation in almost everyone over time. You should appreciate your employees for taking on the leadership roles of going the extra mile by staying after hours to get something done, finding ways to make a difference in the upcoming board meetings, and more.

A technique to use is first, you generically appreciate an individual by saying “good job.” Then, you talk about what you specifically appreciate. Doing this will train people to do more of what you value. Finally, your appreciation and acknowledgment will become the greatest facilitator in your employee’s growth.

You must also learn to give a compliment and appreciation in an authentic way for it to work. This requires that you look at the world through a different lens. Instead of looking to criticize, you alter your attention to mentoring your staff to be better people and workers. You must see the potential for new leaders, and share your finding with them through sincere appreciation. You can not acknowledge something if you do not take a step further to actively see it.

If you want to keep your people happy and reduce the rate of employee turnover, you must remember that the people who work for nonprofit organizations are not only collaborative toward the mission but that they are still working to improve themselves professionally. The more positive you can make the environment, management style, feedback, and leadership, the better your nonprofit becomes a place to work.

Handling Challenges

There are two major challenges that affect executive director duties and other nonprofit leaders during and after the COVID pandemic. First, the incredible stress that individuals in organizations are operating under in terms of project management or staying on top of social media’s influence. These tasks require a lot of teamwork and communication and crave a positive environment in order to be the most efficient and collaborative.

The second challenge is people working from home. The people who are now working from home tend to only receive negative feedback from their supervisors. Since there are fewer means of daily communication, an employee will only contact a supervisor when a mistake or error has been made, or when a timeline has not been followed with something they were supposed to deliver. It is recommended that a manager, leader, or supervisor reach out to their staff not only when they need to correct an issue, but to comment on the value that that person is contributing to the mission of the organization. To do this, talk to your employees more often about their day and what they have accomplished. Look for something positive that they are doing, where you can provide positive feedback.

You can use the sandwich method when providing negative feedback. To do this, you would say something positive, then say the improvement that the employee needs to work on, and finish with something positive again. Another approach in providing feedback is by saying something positive that the employee is doing. Next, ask them to give themself feedback and what they believe they should work on. If you would like to offer any additional feedback, then ask them for permission to do so. Doing this will make them more comfortable and transform the employee’s receptivity to the feedback. Finally, you offer a positive comment again. This method puts the employee in the driver’s seat and allows them to self-reflect, making the conversation a lot more civilized and insightful for the employee.

The concept of EQ, emotional intelligence, is a major skill that should be mastered as a leader. It is your job as a member of the nonprofit’s leadership team to shelter negativity regarding the organization away from the employees. Sharing the position of the organization in tough times will bring everybody down. As a leader, you should always influence a sense of hopefulness and positivity in your employees, by influencing them to obtain more fundraising. Negativity and positivity are infectious, so be sure to choose the right attitude to influence your employees.

Managing Your Nonprofit Employees

The younger generations are now beginning to join the workforce. These generations tend to separate their work and home life greatly. So, as leaders, we must be more creative in motivating, engaging, and influencing people, as the values of the different generations shift.

If you use a command and control approach and say “because you work for me” to your employees, you will notice quickly that your staff will resist your management. Micromanaging and commanding your employees to do their jobs will also make them afraid of offering ideas of innovation. They will worry that their idea is dumb or that it may not work out. Regardless, speaking down on your staff is never the right way to lead. The best ideas come out and are executed when under a positive management style.

When people are in a state of threat, all their creativity, collaboration, and initiative go way down, leaving all sorts of consequences for the organization. Many of us get pretty easily triggered by threats. So, if you are looking for creativity and employees that work well with others, then you need to focus on creating a positive work culture. Nonprofits are all about hope, and hope and negativity do not match. Hope is a positive and aspirational concept so leading in this regard will be most suitable for your employees.


I would like to thank so very much Deborah Reidy from Reidy Associates for coming on to today’s podcast. If you liked today’s podcast, please feel free to share it with a friend, subscribe, and leave us a review on your favorite podcasting app to help us get the word out. If you are looking for a Line of Credit for your nonprofit, you can call us at 862-207-4118 or visit our website at

If you would like to be in touch with Deborah Reidy, you can reach her website at You can check out all her online offerings, sign up for her newsletters, and more!

Thank you all for making the world a better place.

Today’s Guest: Deborah Reidy, Reidy Associates

Deborah Reidy has been working in the nonprofit space as well as other areas for 40 years as a leader, coach, board member, and consultant. Leadership development is really her passion. Deborah likes to take complex ideas and turn them into practical tools that help leaders in organizations achieve results with integrity. She analyzes an organization to understand its full potential for improvement and then presents a comprehensive road map to help her clients achieve their goals.

Deborah is coaching about 15 people right now and has some short term coaching like single sessions around specific topics. Some single sessions relate to Covid, other sessions tend to cover organizational issues, online facilitation, and leadership development.

About The Host Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions

Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, The Nonprofit MBA Podcast. The Nonprofit MBA podcast’s purpose is to help nonprofit leaders. Mr. Halasnik is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to nonprofits and small businesses. 

Mr. Halasnik is a graduate of Rutgers University and has an Executive Masters from the MIT Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurship program. Mr. Halasnik is a best selling Amazon author and is considered a leading authority on building great, purpose-driven businesses. Mr. Halasnik lives in New Jersey with his best friend, his wife Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men. 

About Financing Solutions Nonprofit Line of Credit

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Financing Solutions nonprofit financing product is a great alternative to a traditional bank line of credit because it costs nothing to set up, nothing until used, and when used, is inexpensive. The credit line requires no collateral and no personal guarantees.

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Please feel free to fill out the no-obligation, 2-minute nonprofit line of credit application here. The time to set up a credit line is when you don’t need it so that it is ready to be used, just in case.

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