Leaders expect their team to show up and do a great job. That’s normal. What leaders often forget to do is ask. When the leader is vague, the mission stahls. Leadership requires vulnerability and risk. When you ask, you must know where you want to go and brace yourself with the reality that some will choose to opt out.

Paycheck or no paycheck, team members need to be asked. The proposition requires a response. They must make a conscious and deliberate decision. This alone is progress.

Successful leaders of non-profit organizations are well aware of the ASK principle. If they don’t ask, the mission fails. If they don’t ask donors to sacrifice for the cause, the funding will not come. If the leader does not ask for volunteers, the mission cannot advance. Leaders of nonprofits hear “no” much more than they hear “yes”. But it’s not what you think.

Most of the “nos” they hear are silent. There is no response or a casual nodding and a polite smile with no follow-through. That’s the experience of leadership. Leaders keep going because they are the Number One Believer in their cause and because they make asks every day. Some of these “asks” result in a big YES and that’s how a mission is achieved.

Keep on asking. That’s what leaders do.

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