Respect and Trust Your People

Trust is born of respect

To successfully lead a nonprofit you must paint a vision of where your organization is headed and the behaviors and attitudes you will value on the journey. A culture of trust and respect is vital.

The character of your organization will never exceed your own. Cultivate a supportive organizational culture that moves your nonprofit toward its goals while promoting a respectful workplace where people can contribute their best. Your tone and behavior should show regard for every employee’s strengths, contributions, and cultural background, as well as their health, workplace comfort, and psychological safety. Trust is born of respect.

Hire deliberately

An organization committed to excellence deliberately focuses on building strong teams. It’s critical to identify and recruit a diversity of people who share a commitment to your mission and are willing to learn and adapt as your nonprofit’s needs change.

Respecting and trusting your people is the foundation of all good management.

Conversation Starter

Respect & Trust Your People

A complete set of conversation starters to accompany the chapter.


Respect & Trust Your People Toolkit

A complete set of tools to accompany the chapter.

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8 Practical Insights for Nonprofit Leaders


Culture matters. It’s a core organizational asset.


Respecting and trusting your people is the foundation of all good management.


Always listen for and even seek out signs of trouble. Bad news is good news if you do something about it.


Develop “court sense” to see everything that’s happening around you, and to rapidly adjust to changes.


Commit to doing “the whole job.” Investing in organizational capacity contributes to excellence and impact.


With limited time and resources, it’s essential to prioritize and then focus.


Planning is essential but success comes from the implementation of your ideas. “Book It and Ship It.” Make a decision and manage the consequences.


To create a culture of accountability, reinforce individual ownership of problems. Always ask, “Who owns the monkey?”