Leadership and Discomfort

I wanted to make sure that you saw an article we posted online yesterday. It is from the latest edition of the Nonprofit Quarterly journal (and if you are not yet a subscriber, you should be!). It is called “Leaning into Discomfort,” from a comment made by one of the interviewees, Nancy Northup, of the Center for Reproductive Rights. She is one of three leaders I interviewed for the article. Each is in a highly charged field of practice.
But let me give you just a taste, and then you should move on to the article:

In fact, leaning into discomfort, I think, is critical [. . .] The organization had better be feeling discomfort if it’s leaning into new strategies and ways of working.

You have always to ask, Am I pushing for the change that’s really needed? On all of those levels, you have to continually refresh and check and make sure that you’re getting the most power for the mission by being as uncomfortable as possible. Because change is hard, and the reason why you have to look at all those different levels—yourself, your organization, and then the world—is that if you’re not willing to hold the tension of change as an organization, how can you begin to understand what you have to risk and what others have to risk to make change happen in the world?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how the demands of leadership may be changing. We’d be happy to get your thoughts either in comments or essays about your own experiences (no promotional stuff, of course).
I look forward to hearing from you, and, in the meantime, if you like what we do, subscribe or donate to NPQ today!