Leadership in Non-Profit Organizations, American Express Leadership

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Leadershipin Non-Profit Organizations, American Express Leadership Academy

Leadershipin Non-Profit Organizations, American Express Leadership Academy

AmericanExpress Leadership Academy as a nonprofit organization wasestablished in 2008 to help in the training and development ofindividuals in an attempt to fill the future gap regarding managementfor not-for-profit institutions. It is a merger between AmericanExpress and the Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL), with theheadquarters of the entity positioned in New York. With an openinggrant of $200,000 from American Express, CCL executed a traininginitiative for 24 candidates in 2008 without having to charge thetrainees for the services offered. Currently, the Academy hassucceeded in assisting not less than 300 future leaders to acquiredecisive skills needed to effectively run other not-for profit firmsin the United States (Deal,Peterson &amp Gailor-Loflin, 2001).

Amajor transformation has been taking place in the not-for profitAmerica Express Academy with respect to the organization’sinvolvement in voluntary research work aimed to improve anunderstanding of leadership and enhance quality in the field by thefuture leaders. The institution supports most of its leadershipdevelopment programs autonomously and is least interested in chargingthose who are involved in learning. Hannum et al. (2011) validatedthat the Academy stresses the need to equip emerging leaders withrelevant skills and knowledge that can help in meeting the demand inthe current century where most businesses focus on profits.Particularly, the leading objective of American Express Academy as anon-profit is to develop a good public image through publicparticipation and civic contribution. In 2016, the Academy led aconference on volunteering in Detroit where 48 emerging leaders hadan opportunity to engage in a marquis management developmenteducation agenda which included a feedback-oriented learningatmosphere and hands-on actions meant to boost the leadership skillsof every participant. The Academy responds to the needs of thecommunity without focusing on profit generation from suchassociations since the latter cannot be best managed when the leadersare targeting potential gains(Hannum etal.,2011).The institution has advanced in handling common challenges that arevery critical in the community with the growing need for serviceprovision. According to Hannum et al. (2011), there is copiousinformation that handles the topic of nonprofit leadership, and fromthe Academy, newly enrolled members are trained on what leadership isabout and at negligible costs. Since leaders are found everywhere,there are many definitions that relate to leadership and a goodnumber of them are right but according to the American ExpressLeadership Academy, it refers to a role and a process that ensuresthe fulfillment of direction, commitment and alignment in anorganization (Hannumetal.,2011).In the year 2010, Hannumetal.(2011) observed that theorganization endeavored to understand and enhance excellence in thefield of leadership through extensive and self-funded research onnonprofit management. By November 5, 2010, an inquiry conference washeld within the American Express head office that is located in theNew York City. Part of the concerns that were discussed was theissues challenging the development and growth of emerging leadersespecially within the nonprofit organization. Correspondingly, theyformulated a strategy that would assist such association tocircumvent such challenges and ensure that the excellence is met(Hannumetal.,2011).

Arguably,emerging leaders encounter numerous obstacles during their period ofadvancement, and that have generated managers who do not haveadequate skills and knowledge to control individuals in thenon-profit firms and keep them focused on the not-for-profitobjectives. Such challenges are nurtured by the institutions thatprovide leadership training with an aiming of making a profit.Therefore, a nonprofit institution such as American ExpressLeadership Academy emerges to narrow that disparity in trainingcompetent managers. Some of the challenges include changes that aretaking place as result of technology, partial coverage of learningmaterials, mentors who do not have an interest in their work and theassumption made that a leader is born not made(Deal et al., 2001).

Therefore,the future leaders must ensure that they comply and develop a senseof self, world perception, check on their moral compass andanticipate for what is possible. Consequently, future managers mustdefine such elements as the values, voice, vision, and purpose.First, values establish a foundation, and they keep leaders on thecheck and as a result, they remain relevant. Secondly, the voice isdeveloped from the unique story and individual perception of theworld that have been designed by previous and current experiences.Thirdly, vision is the collective of all likely things that a leaderperceives to happen in the forthcoming years and invest in them.Lastly, the purpose is what keeps the leaders on their line andpurpose must be closely related to vision (Dealetal.,2001).The bottom line, however, is to link all the four parameters to thesetting of not-for profit enterprises so as to enhance communitydevelopment and growth.

Notwithstanding,growth and improvement are very decisive for every developingmanager, and there are certain packages that have been designed suchas the emerging leaders development program (ELDP) that prepares themfor the next stage of the headship role. ELDP is very comprehensive,and it contains skill building classes, personal assessment,360-feedback and contact coaching with an external instructor whobuilds emerging leaders for big responsibility. From the pedagogydesigned, the participants have the opportunity to handle varioustopics ranging from creating strategies, risk taking, coming up withexecutive networks, and managing possible biases in corporateAmerica. Similarly, development and growth are enhanced by assigningevery participant with a mentor with whom they work within a closeassociation for a period not less than two years and the helps themto understand organizational leadership(Fulmer, Gibbs &amp Goldsmith, 2000).

Mainly,there is need to accelerate the development and growth of emergingleaders since, during their early years, they have numerousopportunities to change management roles and merge them with thecurrent trends. Emerging leaders are empowered with extraordinarytalents and skills that need to be shaped to ensure that they becomeeffective in the future. Similarly, these emerging managers who havepassion for advancing their capabilities are spirited, energetic anddedicated (Jackson,2015).Compared to the early generations who have been facing challengeswith regards to destruction from the work-life imbalances, emergingleaders are not prone or vulnerable to such situations. Additionally, they are not expected to have challenges as far astechnical skills are concerned but rather, likely to be challengedwith an issue that arises from the personal environment. To equipthese distinguished leaders to take their responsibility, they mustbe involved in an extensive variety of skills. The fundamentresponsibility that emerging leaders must comprehend is to build andmaintain the relationship and acquire skills of managing conflict andhandling difficult people in the non-profit organization. Similarly,they must grasp the concept of effective communication since thatwill help in articulating their ideas and opinions in clear ways thatcan yield the required results of not-for-profit businesses(Jackson, 2015).

Usingthe case of American Express Leadership Academy as covered by Hannumet al. (2011), I have demonstrated that leadership is very effectivein managing the non-profit organizations which would otherwise losefocus in serving the community as attributed to the pressing need tomake profits. Moreover, the paper has demonstrated that efficientleadership is anchored of vision, mission, and realistic objectives.Although leadership in the American Express Academy faces suchchallenges as the urge to make profits, the case study has provedthat integration and the development of the future leaders isfruitful in preparing the future leaders to take tasks within thenon-for profit entities.


Deal,J. J., Peterson, K., &amp Gailor-Loflin, H. (2001). Emergingleaders: An annotated bibliography.Center for Creative Leadership.

Fulmer,R. M., Gibbs, P. A., &amp Goldsmith, M. (2000). Developing leaders:How winning companies keep on winning. MITSloan Management Review,42(1),49.

Hannum,K. E., Deal, J., Livingston Howard, L., Linshuang, L., Ruderman, M.N., Stawiski, S., … &amp Price, R. (2011). Emerging leadership innonprofit organizations: Myths, meaning, and motivations. Centerfor Creative Leadership. Greensboro, NC.

Jackson,R. (2015). On the rise: meet Internal Auditor`s 2015 emergingleaders–they`re bright, ambitious, and eager to advance theprofession. InternalAuditor,72(6),30-40.

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