Little did I know that in 1983 I would be asked to be the President of my local Rotary Club, an international volunteer service organization. A few weeks before I started, I asked our Board of Directors if it would be okay for me to arrange an off-site club assembly at the home of one of our members. Volunteer Leadership
As you can imagine serving delicious charcoal grilled hamburgers, resulted in almost 100% attendance along with lots of fellowship.
Then I used a way in our club that never had been used before (nor had I used before in our business).
Volunteer Leadership by Engaging People
I invited people to choose one of the four main planning groups. And in advance, I asked key leaders of each group to facilitate discussions on one of four main subjects and record the input from everyone who participated.
It was amazing how enthusiastic people were coming-out of those discussion groups. I understand now that the participative decision-making process we went through was the secret to our successful follow-through during my year as Rotary Club President.
It wasn’t too long after my year ended that I was asked to serve at the next level as the Rotary International District Governor and the youngest in the world at that time.
I don’t tell you all of this so that you can pat me on the back. In fact, this story serves as a sad reminder of lost opportunity..
You see, what I learned at my local Rotary Club that worked so well, I did not carry over into my business. At work, I led in a very different way. I was suffering from two common problems that limit the effectiveness of most leaders, I just didn’t know it!
For me, it was not until 1989 that I finally learned the better way. But you don’t have to attend years of the “school of hard knocks”, like I did, to learn the better way to lead your organization.
In my previous blog posts, I offered you a simple survey about our motivations. You can download the FREE survey <here> so you can easily record your own answers.
I have found that this survey is one of the most powerful tools that you have for discovery and learning. The statements in the survey ask you to think more deeply about this important topic on motivation.
I’ll be writing about different aspects of the motivation survey in the next few blog posts. But for now, let’s take a closer look at the first four statements in the survey and see what we can learn about motivation:
1. I would rather be living in 1850, and I wish that I were an indentured servant.
I’ve never had anyone answer “Yes” to this statement. The fact is, people who have spread their wings personally and professionally want to feel useful intellectually as well as physically. Certainly being “just a servant” isn’t appealing to them.
2. I enjoy achieving goals and having recognition for my achievements.
Virtually everybody agrees with this. That’s why they play golf, why Little Leaguers want to get base hits, and why kids smile proudly when they’ve aced a test.
3. I would rather be asked to do something instead of being ordered to do it.
Sure. Most people feel better when they are treated considerately. And, of course, when ordered to do something we feel more like a servant, and we’re back into the situation of statement number one.
4. I enjoy having someone ask me for my opinion or advice, and I feel good when others listen to me. I also appreciate not being interrupted.
Most of us enjoy being considered worthy of having potentially useful opinions. When we’re interrupted, the other person is demonstrating that our opinions aren’t very worthwhile.
It’s easy to conclude that if our opinions aren’t worthwhile then we, as individuals, aren’t worthwhile – and that certainly doesn’t help us feel good about ourselves!
Well, we have started learning about our motivations, and what motivates volunteers in a civic club by being engaged to participate in the decision-making process.
There’s one thing I learned for sure as a leader when serving in my Rotary Club:
Volunteers will test your leadership skills to the maximum.
– Bobby Albert
Volunteer leadership is certainly a challenge, but the insights we are discovering in the motivation survey are clues to leading anyone, even volunteers!
Do you like achieving goals and receiving recognition for achievement? Do you like being asked for your opinion and advice? When someone orders you to do a task, how does that make you feel? Please leave for me your comments <here> and share this blog posts with a friend or co-worker.