GNH Community

Community, Nonprofits and Businesses sharing Information

Nonprofit Board Hiring; Do looks matter?

Board members that judge a "book by its cover" may seriously lose-out on opportunities in prospective CEOs. That's my basic takeaway from the following Washington Post article about a study that examined how:

CEO's "faces" send messages;
"looks" for for-profits are likely different than what nonprofits (and their donors) desire; and, bottom line, there may be some truly hidden gems out there that get missed because of personal bias by board members or just plain mis-judgement. I would pose that the same is true when it comes to recruiting board members and selecting board officers.

For instance, the folks often selected for the position of Secretary may "look" the part but may well have lots of gifts that proper probing may uncover and even serve the nonprofit board better. And, just because one "looks like a dragon" doesn't mean they aren't inherently insightful, thoughtful, loyal and responsive (think Daenerys Tagaryen's dragons from Game of Thrones).

Here's the article.

On Leadership
How a CEO’s face could predict his success

By Jena McGregor July 5 at 5:06 PM

Not the look of a successful nonprofit CEO, according to a new study. (iStock photo)
They say you can't judge a book by its cover. But you can apparently conclude something about a CEO's performance by his or her facial features.

Past research has shown that CEOs who have physical characteristics associated with power or dominance -- things like a big mouth or a more widely shaped face -- have been linked with better performing companies. Yet a new study shows that when it comes to chief executives of nonprofit organizations, the opposite appears to be true: Those who appear less powerful to people actually tend to have more success.

For the study, recently published online in the journal Perception, two University of Toronto researchers asked people to rate photos of the faces of 100 top nonprofit CEOs -- all white and male to keep things consistent -- on four dimensions: Dominance, likability, trustworthiness and maturity, or how baby-faced their features appear. It then grouped dominance and maturity together to create a "power" score for each CEO and combined the other two traits to judge a CEO's "warmth." Separately, it asked another group of participants to judge how well they thought the men in the photos would be at leadership, based on appearance alone.

The researchers then compared their respondents' ratings to calculations in a Forbes magazine ranking of metrics such as each nonprofit's fundraising efficiency (how much private support is left after expenses) and charitable commitment (services offered as a percent of total expenses). In no case were respondents told the people in the photos were actually nonprofit CEOs.

What they found: Unlike past research linking dominance and the performance for-profit CEOs, nonprofit leaders with the highest "power" ratings were actually linked with less success. In other words, those who looked more likable or trustworthy performed better on the nonprofit metrics. The more powerful looking CEOs had significantly lower "charitable commitment" scores and marginally lower scores on fundraising efficiency and the total funds donated to charity. Those with the highest ratings for "leadership" also fared more poorly on the metrics, as well as on things like total revenue and total expenses.

Why data is "the new natural resource"
We can use it to make faster, smarter decisions.
What's happening here? "Among for-profit organizations, people who look more dominant are doing worse," said one of the co-authors, University of Toronto associate professor Nicholas Rule, in an interview. In the business world, people who are viewed as aggressive or assertive are linked with success, while in the nonprofit world, those thought to be good at building relationships appear to be viewed as having the upper hand. If their faces seem more approachable, Rule says, "that's possibly going to make them seem like a more trustworthy investment. If they're extremely dominant or evil looking, you're not going to want to donate them money" as much.

It's not that nonprofit boards are necessarily picking CEOs who look nicer, Rule says, but that those who have a more likable or trustworthy appearance could advance more easily -- whether through promotions based on perceived skills or through better actual performance, driven in part by donors' or outsiders' perceptions. "It's the fit argument," he says. "If someone looks the part, they're going to have advantages, and this can start extremely early. "

Rule is careful to note that there are always exceptions, and say he does not think nonprofit boards of directors should start selecting new leaders on the basis of how nice they seem. Instead, they should be aware of the potential for bias so they can avoiding missing people whose talents might be overlooked. "Visual impressions are extremely strong," he says. "Even when we know better that impression continues to reassert itself, we can be really easily swayed by the way people look."

He also says his study is a reminder that our definition of leadership should depend on the leader in question. In another part of the study, he asked respondents to rate how well they thought the men in each photo would do at leading a nonprofit organization, thereby positioning the CEOs in the right context. When they posed the question that way, people were more likely to give higher ratings to those CEOs in the study who had higher "warmth" ratings than they did in the first part of the study.

On Leadership newsletter
Conversations about management and leadership.

While Rule's past research in business, law and U.S. politics have shown a link between dominant appearances and perceived leadership, there is at least one other place where leaders who exude warmth do better: some Asian cultures. "In a study we did looking at electoral outcomes in Japan, we find that warmth is actually what predicts success rather than power," he said, noting that it makes sense given the collectivist culture in the region. "Our default, when we think about leadership, is to think about dominance. But when you ask people to consider the context, they make a change."

Views: 69


You need to be a member of GNH Community to add comments!

Join GNH Community

Welcome (Bienvenido, Benvenuto, Powitanie, Bonjour! Willkomme,歡迎, ברוךהבא أهلا وسهلا, Bonvenon) to GNH Community. Traducción de esta página

Si no habla inglés, puede
leer el contenido de este sitio
web haciendo clic en
"Select language" arriba y
eligiendo "Spanish".
El contenido, excepto los
archivos adjuntos, aparecerán en español.


Non-English speaking residents can read the content of this website by clicking on "Select Language" above and picking their preferred language. Once a language is selected all content with the exception of attachments will appear in that language.


Imagine. Inform. Invest. Inspire. Working together to build a stronger community - now and forever.

The Community Foundation office at 70 Audubon Street is open to visitors by appointment only; Foundation staff are available by phone and email Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. to conduct business or to schedule a time to visit. To contact a staff member, view our staff directory.




Open Street Project

An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit

By Ryan O’Connor, Director of Programs, 8 80 Cities Recently 8 80 Cities wrote a blog post about open streets being a labour of love. That being the case, the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was rejuvenating to see old and new friends who share our passion for open streets and are working tirelessly to create healthier, happier, and more connected communities across the world. The event, which took place on September 15-16, brought together more than 50 leaders who currently organize open streets programs or are interested in bringing the...

The post An Open Streets Family Reunion: Reflections from the 2018 Open Streets Summit appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda

We hope you are getting ready and feel excited about the Open Streets Summit in Gretna/New Orleans! Taking place from September 15-16, 2018, the Summit will feature tours, presentations and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Attendees will learn about the nuts and bolts of starting or scaling up open streets programs, including: Route design and planning Partnerships with business and officials Social inclusion Safety and logistics Marketing and promotion Program evaluation through measurable goals and metrics If you haven’t done it yet, click here to register for the Open Streets Summit only or...

The post Open Streets Summit Draft Agenda appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced!

The Open Streets Project is proud to announce that Ed Solis from Viva Calle (San Jose, CA), Romel Pascual from CicLAvia (Los Angeles, CA), Jaymie Santiago and Charles Brown from New Brunswick Ciclovia will join us as speakers for the 2018 Open Streets Summit in New Orleans and Gretna! Taking place from September 15-16 2018, the Summit will feature: Behind the scenes tour of the City of Gretna’s inaugural open streets program. Workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities with open streets champions and organizers from across the continent. Training and inspiration for both -novice and experienced- open streets organizers and supporters...

The post Open Streets Summit Speakers Announced! appeared first on Open Streets Project.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Diving into the Deep, Hard + Imperative Work of Community Violence Intervention

As part of its partnership with the Department of Justice, LISC s supports practitioners and policy makers with best practices and overcoming challenges facing community violence intervention (CVI) work in American communities. An article from the National Criminal Justice Association highlights the many voices represented during a recent webinar for nearly 1,000 attendees, led by on-the-ground experts in violence intervention, researchers and DOJ leaders. The webinar is now part of a robust online resource center hosted by LISC and the DOJ’s Community Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative.

Talking Financial Stability With LISC CEO Michael T. Pugh

In a wide-ranging radio interview with Audacy's On the Block 94.7, LISC CEO Michael T. Pugh unpacks the ways CDFIs, from the most local to the largest, are so well poised to support financial mobility. He also praises the role of good financial advice, and forecasts how AI can create alternative methods for building credit.

Empowering Agriculture: A Black-Owned Grain Storage Facility Marks New Era in Mississippi Delta Farming

Delta Diamond Ag stores and handles grains, a critical service for helping farmers bring their crops successfully to market. With a $500,000 loan from LISC’s Black Economic Development Fund, this rare African-American-owned facility is poised to change agriculture in the Delta. In recognition of Black History Month, we’re sharing this conversation with CEO Leigh Allen about how the company can serve area growers and the larger community, the importance of African-American representation in the agricultural supply chain, and his own deep affection for Delta farming.

© 2024   Created by Lee Cruz.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service