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Servant Leadership and Resilience In the Nonprofit World

Benjamin Miranda and his team practicing servant leadership with Endeavors

Imagine you’re going to take a hiking trip. While planning your route, you notice on your map that you will encounter steep hills, culverts, and rough terrain. How would you make sure you can safely take this trip and handle any unexpected problems that arise from the challenge?

Benjamin Miranda practicing servant leadership with Endeavors

Ben Miranda | Guest Contributor

Perhaps you would enlist the support of more experienced hikers as you plan your route, or rely on the companionship of trusted friends along the way. Maybe you would pack extra safety equipment and water. With the right tools and support in place, one thing is certain: You will not only make it through the challenges of your adventure, but also emerge a more confident and courageous hiker.

Life may not come with a map, but everyone will experience twists and turns — from everyday challenges to traumatic events with more lasting impact, like the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident, or a serious illness. Each change affects people differently, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty. Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful situations — thanks in part to resilience. The Resilience-Building Leader Program instructs us that “Resilience is a collective social phenomenon in organizations where people rely on each other to accomplish difficult and challenging tasks together. Resilient teams are stronger together and they make organizational learning and change possible.”

Receiving a Resilience-Building Leadership Professional Trainer (RBLP-T) certification allowed me to effectively motivate my team, and work hand-in-hand with other professionals whose hearts are in serving vulnerable populations. RBLP’s certification program is relevant to those who serve in nonprofit organizations and empowers nonprofit staff members to be more successful, adaptable and resilient in the face of a variety of day-to-day challenges. I have personally found the RBLP-T program to be valuable and relevant in providing me the necessary skills and knowledge to grow as a community leader.

A resilient leader is one who inspires others to do their best and serves with an open heart. To develop a resilient servant leadership style that will flourish in the nonprofit sector you must be willing to serve, rather than be served, and it starts with a personal commitment to changing your entire leadership style.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world.”  It’s not impossible to adapt in order to be the leader you have always wanted to be, yet it is important to understand that no one became a better leader simply through reading an article, a book, or attending a class on leadership.  You can learn about new leadership principles and methods in doing so, but they alone will not help you become a better leader — the practice does not begin by changing others, but by changing yourself.

Benjamin Miranda at a speaking engagement - servant leadership in the nonprofit worldServant leadership starts with some individual soul searching, before you can implement your learnings toward influencing others to follow you in any purposeful direction.  I can honestly tell you it took me a few years into my leadership journey to realize who I was and how I fit into the big picture.  Once you understand what your life purpose is and how you wish to pursue it, then you will be able to develop lasting relationships with others. As one whose focus is in developing bonds and relationships between the organization I serve in, Endeavors, and local, state, and federal organizations who share our mission— to passionately serve vulnerable people in crisis — it is extremely important for me to develop trust and collaboration. These elements must be present for two people to work together; you have to take the time out of your busy schedule to know others, cultivating a concern for their issues and needs in order to develop a trusting connection.  They must see that you stand by them, even when they fail or make a mistake; demonstrate character when issues are tough; and make wise decisions when stakes are on the line. Getting to know every colleague and developing one’s emotional intelligence are key elements of RBLP’s program.

As Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”  As such, you must learn to respect every team member’s individual differences, accepting who they are and finding a way to work together in order to get them on board with the relationship and the mission. You begin by honoring the power of diversity and understanding that everyone in your team brings a different strength to the “plate”.  As the saying goes, “No one is as smart as the entire team.”  As RBLP’s certification reinforces, by setting an example for your people you have the ability to positively influence their thinking, behavior, and development — in both their professional and personal lives.  Allow them to make mistakes that they can learn from, which will give them an advantage for personal growth. The bottom line is – are you willing to be the sort of leader who puts their people first, ensuring that your teams will trust and follow you?

The RBLP team is available to speak one-on-one if you have further questions; reach out today and get started on your own path.



Photo of Benjamin Miranda - Servant Leadership
Benjamin Miranda, Jr. is a 24-year veteran of the United States Air Force, who rose to the USAF’s highest rank of Command Chief Master Sergeant. He is currently the Director of Operational Impact & Business Development at Endeavors, a Texas nonprofit organization where he leads outreach efforts in support of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic. Benjamin is also the co-owner and COO of a veteran owned business and serves as a Senior Associate for the Leadership Development Network; as a Commissioner for the Texas Military Preparedness Commission; and sits on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of El Paso (where he is the chair for the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee); the American Red Cross-West Texas; and the El Paso Homeless Coalition-Continuum of Care.

RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together! 

Learn more about the requirements for the RBLP Certification program, and if you’re interested in getting certified to Build Resilient Teams, feel free to fill out our application!

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