Leveling Up Your Nonprofit Leadership with Mallory Erickson

January 10, 2022
3 minutes

There's no need to fake it 'til you make it. Today, fundraiser-turned-executive-coach Mallory Erickson shows how leadership relies on confidence, and just where you can find it.

Experiential Blindness

What would you say if we told you that no data is objective data?

You'd tell us that numbers are numbers, they aren't good, bad, lazy, smart, pretty, or talented. And you'd be right. But what Mallory explains is that nothing that you experience in the running of your nonprofit is objective:

  • Your staff members' performance
  • Your donor retention rate
  • Your program impact

This is all information that's being communicated and interpreted a certain way based on your lens as a leader. So... if you want to change the way you lead, you need to change your lens, too.

Ask the right questions

In order to build leadership capacity, you need to start with fundamentally different questions. And the first one?

How can I increase organizational capacity by increasing the capacity within myself?

Mallory's advice is to break that down even further:

  • How can I become a better leader?
  • What can I do to not feel so stressed out?
  • How do I reach my goals with ease?
  • How can I be more engaged at work?

The Cognitive Behavior Loop

The Cognitive Behavior Loop is the idea that our thoughts and beliefs inform the way that we feel and ultimately how we show up (which then directly impacts our results.)

Often times when people think about ‘mindset’ they think about just changing the way they think. Like saying, "Be Positive!" or "Be Confident!" will just automatically make you positive and confident.

It doesn't. But becoming aware of our emotions is a pretty good starting point.

And starting with emotions helps us understand the value of energy.

Catabolic and Anabolic Energy

Mallory says, "Energy is contagious, really contagious."

To level up your leadership, it's time to make a conscious choice to be the type of dynamic, inspirational leader that attracts people. And understanding that type of energy is crucial to transforming your leadership style.

Anabolic Energy

Anabolic describes energy that is constructive, expanding, fueling, healing, and growth-oriented. Anabolic energy helps move you forward and achieve positive, long-term, successful results, and is useful in leading others in the same direction.

This is the type of energy you're looking to generate.

Catabolic Energy

Catabolic energy, on the other hand, is draining, resisting, and contracting energy. While catabolic energy provides you with an energetic boost and offers short-term benefits, when used on a long-term basis, it imparts mental, emotional, and physical tolls that are potentially destructive to you, to your organization, and to all those around you.

This is the type of energy that great leaders use sparingly.

According to Mallory, there are 7 levels of leadership, with Anabolic on one end of the spectrum and Catabolic on the other end. To hear more and learn about the Nonprofit Leadership Loop, access Mallory's free resources and thank us later.

For even more exciting executive advice, listen to the Nonstop Nonprofit podcast as Mallory and Justin Wheeler, Funraise CEO and Co-founder, uncover assets you never knew you had, smash the power dynamics of outdated fundraiser-funder relationships, and try on different lenses to reveal your true confidence as a fundraiser.

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