Did You Know?

Did You Know? Decisiveness, Board Relations and NFP Experience Key for Leaders

By Association Adviser staff • June 13, 2016

Respondents say these skills trump strong listening, empathy and consensus building skills.

Soft skills such as listening, empathy and consensus-building get the most attention at seminars, management retreats and self-help books for association leaders. But early results of our unscientific reader poll show our readers want their leaders to be strong in traditional hard-skills first.

When asked to name the three most essential skills for association leaders, more than one-fourth of respondents (26 percent) cited “Strong decision-making” ability.

Roughly one in five cited “Comfort with boards and committees” (22 percent) or “Previous not-for-profit experience” (19 percent).

Just one in ten respondents cited either “Consensus building skills” (11 percent), “Listening skills” (11 percent) or “Empathy and schmoozing skills.”

Just 4 percent mentioned “Innovation skills.”

Which skills are most essential for association leaders?

As Patrick Leclerc, head of the Canadian Urban Transit Association told us last month, the biggest surprise he’s had since taking over the helm of CUTA last year has been the number of important, strategic decisions he’s had to make on a weekly, even daily basis. “We live in a fast-paced world. Most of the time the information you get is only partial and risk assessment can be difficult,” said Leclerc. “You need to surround yourself with the right people so you can make good decisions fast while keeping up with your busy schedule.”