Many companies truly want to be a part of and help their surrounding communities. They encourage team members to volunteer and expect their executives to participate in leadership roles.
This all seems like the right thing to do, and I can share another reason for this involvement. As the past president of the Long Beach Management Association, a leadership networking and community service organization, I had to have the dreaded discussion with a fellow board member that was not quite achieving all the roles of the position. Having never led a volunteer organization before, I approached the conversation like it was work.
It was not work and as soon as I provided the opportunity, the individual said they were quite busy and would love to pass this on to someone else. I moved from not getting all I hoped to getting nothing. It struck me like a 2x4. Leading a volunteer effort is way more delicate than leading organizations where people are paid.
So, the next time you are looking to develop one of your up-and-coming leadership hot shots that has a little edge, assign them to lead a volunteer organization. In fact, if you have never done this, sign up yourself! It is a great leadership development undertaking.
Have you had a challenge leading a volunteer effort? Are the leadership skills required different?
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