These findings suggest that a move toward generativity among Emerging Sage leaders—rather than a retreat into stagnation—may be traced to an early successful experience in being mentored. Now, as Emerging Sages, they can “return the favor” by themselves becoming successfully engaged mentors. They become good listeners and strive to empower others in their organization, and they take on the mentor-oriented roles of community-connector and relationship-builder. This transition from mentee to mentor may be an important element in the creation of a sustainable community. Furthermore, this mentoring role may be particularly compatible with a new model of leadership that these Emerging Sage leaders seem to reflect.
Senior Sage Leaders
The 50 Senior Sage leaders say they most help their favored civic organizations in four ways. Like their Emerging Sage colleagues, they provide leadership and specialized expertise. They also enhance communication and provide financial treasure.
Providing Personal Leadership
Senior Sages report they most help through their personal leadership. Often this involves bringing vision and providing sage advice to the nonprofit boards on which they serve, developing trust, reminding other board members what is needed to be effective, helping the board to work as one, and being able to plan effectively and focus on what to do next.
It also has to do with the ability to attract a highly diverse and talented group of leaders onto the board, nurturing the executive director, listening to people and staying tuned to their motivations, and thanking volunteers. Two Senior Sages describe their leadership role this way:
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Early on I was approached to lead fund development and found that a different approach was needed. It was important to have all of our business sponsorships for the coming year committed by the end of November. We had never done this before. We obtained a pledge from businesses before the year started and received commitments up to $600,000. We learned that long-term relationship-building is the way to create and sustain a sound fund development program, and that acknowledging and recognizing major donors are key.