A Positive Attitude Goes Far With Volunteers
(Guest Post by Leigh Ann Rodgers/Creative Business Workshops)
Are you in charge of leading a team of volunteers in your club to undertake a special project? Are you the president or other officer of a volunteer club that needs to mobilize to get something done? Building a strong volunteer team can be more difficult than building a team in the workplace. A volunteer can easily walk away at any point the situation is not meeting his or her needs. It’s more complicated to walk away if you are being paid for your contribution, so an employee might be willing to work harder at being a good team mate because their livelihood depends on it.
A team’s success depends on two factors: productivity and positivity. First, the team members must feel productive. They want to know their contribution is making a positive impact for the organization they have chosen to serve. Second, volunteers typically want to work in a positive environment. Why would someone volunteer their precious time to work on team where there was low trust, blame, bickering or backstabbing? The positivity factor may even be more important than productivity in a volunteer organization. A leader must work to create and maintain an environment that is enjoyable and rewarding in order to keep the volunteer energized about being on the team.
Excited and happy team members are usually the greatest contributors. They also tend to attract additional volunteers to help. So, how do you sustain positivity on a volunteer team? There are infinite ways. One simple way is to acknowledge the efforts and accomplishments of the team members. Another way is to get to know team members on a personal basis and create situations that will also allow them to get to know each other. Yet another way is to be sure the volunteers are very clear on their roles and have adequate training and support. However, rather than guess the best way to create positivity on your team, consider asking your volunteers the following questions:
- What motivates you to be a volunteer on this team?
- What is that you like about this team?
- What is challenging and/or frustrating about working with this team?
- How can we build a team that works well together and gets things accomplished?
Once you get your team dialoguing about what they want and need from their volunteer experience, you can work together to determine what steps to take to build the team. Then, remember to check in constantly with both individuals and the team as a whole so you can make adjustments as necessary.
firstname.lastname@example.org www.creativebusinessworkshops.com (404) 964-8306
Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder and Principal of Creative Business Development, is a Facilitator, Coach, and Trainer specializing in team building and management training. Leigh Ann works with leaders to help them develop teams that are highly productive and positive. Leigh Ann has been facilitating training workshops for nearly 20 years, working with clients ranging from the government sector to small business owners to large corporations. She offers a wide array of programs and services including business coaching, DISC assessment training, and strategic planning. Additionally, she is an authorized distributor of the Team Diagnostic assessment through Team Coaching International. Leigh Ann collaborates with leaders and their teams to improve their performance and success. Her approach to facilitating is energetic and interactive. One of her strengths is her ability to create a safe and relaxed environment in which participants are engaged and working together to produce results.
Prior to her career as a facilitator, Leigh Ann was a Human Resources Trainer and Manager for SunTrust Bank, during which time she consulted with managers, facilitated team building and training sessions, and performed needs analyses for a variety of business functions. One of her proudest accomplishments was designing and delivering a three month management training program which trained leaders in both skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their management roles.
In addition to owning her own business, Leigh Ann is a Core Facilitator for Leadership Strategies, a nationwide leader in facilitation services. She has also worked as a Career Management Consultant with Right Management, a talent and career management company.
Leigh Ann earned her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Georgia and Bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College. Currently she serves as the Vice President of Programming for the Southeast Association of Facilitators where she received the President’s Award for her contributions to the organization. She is also a member of the Georgia Coach Association and the International Association of Facilitators.
Client organizations include: Chick-fil-A, Center for Disease Control (CDC), SunTrust, Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI), State Farm Insurance, The Weather Channel, InHealth, Carolina Health Systems, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Pixstar, Inc., and Kellogg.