~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
Find tips to oversee the work of volunteers and practical suggestions
to supervise them. Everything from ideas to help you work more
efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers
happy and productive.
One of the
ways support for a volunteer program comes along is when the person who
manages volunteers is seen by peers and administrators as a leader.
You can commit leadership suicide by doing any or all of the following
things. And they are all fixable.
impulsively. Being unpredictable, impatient, or acting before
thinking through all the consequences is a problem for your volunteers
perceived as aloof. A smiling pleasant demeanor is no substitute
when you are preoccupied with your own agenda and address issues in
a haughty manner. People around you see this as being manipulative
at best and stubborn at worst.
cautious. Life is filled with risk. Being indecisive or reluctant
to tackle new things because you think something will fail is not
the mark of a leader.
suspicious. The person who argues about everything, is distrustful,
or skeptical can be seen as resistant to feedback. Leaders invite
feedback, even the negative kind.
a prima donna. People who are outgoing and friendly to excess
are often seen as attention seekers, more interested in self-promotion
or needing approval. Leaders let the light shine on others.
in impetuous or volatile behavior. Quick to anger, moody, emotional
are all things that undermine peoples view of you as a leader.
controlling. The perfectionist is likely a poor manager of volunteers.
After all volunteers are doing the work and the manager is guiding.
Micromanaging is not the sign of good leadership.
If one or
more of these applies to you, it is time to read up on leadership and
put into practice those skills of the effective leader. The volunteer
program gains power and influence when the volunteer manager is seen as
part of the organizations leadership team.
description of this series: "Organizations are successful at
achieving their mission when volunteers and staff are a team. Evaluate
the elements of the relationships in your organization and outline
the strategies to make things better."
come and go, programs die and new ones replace them, administrators change,
and money goes up and down. Change is a fact of life in working with volunteers.
Here are some tips to learn to love those changes.
to live with uncertainty and doubt. Change is rarely fast. Learning
to live with uncertainty can actually lower your blood pressure.
Try some relaxation exercises when the anxiety gets too high.
along the familiar. If you are losing a key volunteer, make
a date with the person for lunch next month. If you are changing
offices, set up your furniture in a similar pattern to the old office.
Try to take with you, if only mentally, some things with which you
are familiar. It helps lessen the uncontrolled feeling of change.
straight about why you oppose the change. Admit to yourself
that the rut you are in feels comfortable and changing is just soooo
much trouble. You cannot control the change, but you can control
your attitude about it.
to colleagues. Time to make the local volunteer mangers group
meeting. No doubt someone else has experienced this change and can
advise you. Seek out people who know from personal experience what
you are going through.
expectations high but dont expect miracles. Be optimistic
about where the change will lead and how it will be a benefit to
you. It is important, however, to accept that while you move on
nothing will be quite the same.
tips for folks who have a tendency to talk and contribute more than others.
Here are some quick exercises to make you a better listener.
next time you have a meal with a group, wait 15 minutes before
contributing to the conversation. Yes, check your watch to see
if you can go that long.
the next meeting you attend, restrain yourself from interrupting,
even though you know the answer to a question or are dying to
make a comment. Do this for at least 15 minutes; and if it is
a long meeting do it more than once.
the time and go for 30 minutes without speaking.
in assessing volunteer and staff relations in your program?
State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through
the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing
or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home.
For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Portal site, Internet
Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing. There
is a hot link to their Web site.
FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT VOLUNTEER MANAGERS SEEKS MEMBERS
Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association
of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in
local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local
government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange.
NAAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is
seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities.
Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership.
An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local
government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly
newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project.
For more information contact Robin Popik,
who is a Volunteer Resource Supervisor. She can be reached by phone at
972-941-7114. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.