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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.

~ April 2007 ~ Topics

Making Decisions as a Leader

Making Decisions as a Leader

Every day managers and supervisors have decisions that need to be made. There are different strategies to accomplish this. Here are some styles of leadership styles that can assist you in the decision making process. Which one(s) do you use?

Army Sergeant

  • Decisions are made without input
  • Leader has control
  • Immediate action can be commanded
  • Effect on Group:
    • May not take ownership
    • They may sabotage efforts
    • May be resentful for not being asked
  • TIP:
    • Works well in a crisis mode
    • Explain rationale behind approach

Teacher's Pet

  • Asks specific individuals for input
  • Ultimately decides for group
  • Effect on Group:
    • Some may feel excluded
  • TIP:
    • Explain rationale behind decision
    • Make sure the ones who weren't included in decision have a role


  • Group input
  • Group identification
  • Decisions are well thought out
  • Effect on Group:
    • Takes time
    • Conflict has potential to become heated
  • TIP:
    • There needs to be a process that others adhere to with specific timelines

Head of Household

  • All members have a voice
  • Willing to support team effort
  • Effect on Group:
    • Takes time
    • Facilitator needs skills to reach agreement
  • TIP:
    • Make every member feel valued
    • Encourage each individual to voice their opinion and then to reach a consensus


  • Delegates decision making to others
  • Develops leadership in others
  • Effect on Group:
    • May not be done how you think it should
    • Group may need additional training and guidance
  • TIP:
    • Clarify expectations
    • Hold individuals accountable
    • Be available to encourage, answer questions

Questions to ask when evaluating which role will be most effective:

    1. Who is involved?
    2. How important is their influence?
    3. What is more important the task or the people?
    4. How will they be affected by outcome?
    5. What is the best strategy?
Sometimes you make the right decision; sometimes you make the decision right. ~ Dr. Phil

Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for Secrets of Leadership by Rick Lynch & Sue Vineyard and Best of All: The Quick Reference Guide to Effective Volunteer Involvement by Linda Graff.

Details for Secrets of Leadership Book Details for Best of All Book


Washington 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.

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Liz Needham

Liz Needham is currently the Volunteer Services Coordinator for the City of Raleigh Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Foster Grandparent Program. She has 12 years of managerial and supervisory experience in the non-profit, local government and business sectors. She can be reached by email at: elizabeth.needham@ci.raleigh.nc.us or by phone at: (919) 831-6098.

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