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Home » Leadership Essentials, Staff/Volunteer Leadership

Leadership Essentials: Encouraging Diversity

Submitted by James Higginbotham on June 8, 2010 – 4:49 amNo Comment

As we integrate a variety of different personalities into our volunteer teams, we soon realize that leading is less about the activities and more about the people involved in the activities. Given the proper time and training, just about anyone can learn to usher, run a soundboard, or even teach a Bible study. The real test is what we do when they do it different than we want it done.

Every one of your volunteers has had a different life experience.

They have learned different ways to think.

They have learned different ways to motivate themselves.

They have learned different ways to do the same thing you can do.

Leaders should not be micro-managers. They should allow each person’s unique abilities to emerge within their team. This means insisting on a specific process or step if it is required to ensure safety or the proper care of others. Otherwise, we must provide room for our volunteers to succeed on their own.

I have experienced times when I give volunteers the room they need, only to see them fail to complete or even start a project. What do we do to prevent this while still providing the room they need to do it their way?

Create smaller checkpoints and milestones. Breaking big activities into smaller ones will allow them focus and allow you to test them in the small things before trusting them with the bigger things.

Set goals to achieve a specific set of activities by a certain date. Be sure they agree that they can be successful, otherwise they will never start as they will see it as hopeless.

Follow-up with them often. Ensure they have everything they need to be successful. Pair them up with someone else if they need help or need an additional skill that they are lacking.

Your way works for you, but not them. Be sure to encourage them, guide them, and allow them to do things their way.

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