Alright, the project duties have been assigned, and YOU are in charge of a group of five strangers you’ve only seen three other times at meetings. Quick, what do you do first—introduce yourself? Have an icebreaker? Shoot—no time, your group is on a time crunch before the event starts! “Deep breath, smile, and go.” Those little words are the words of a calm and efficient volunteer leader.
Leadership, a vital part of volunteer work, wouldn’t you say? As much as we’d like to think that everyone equally shares responsibility for jobs that need to be done, especially group work, there always seems to be one person who steps beyond everyone else and delegate’s tasks. It’s not a bad thing; in fact, having leaders to look up to in teamwork settings is a necessary element for successful functionality.
But what does it mean to be a volunteer leader? A volunteer leader, specifically in this context, is described as a person who:
- accepts the challenges and responsibilities of the project assigned, delegate’s others in a respectful manner, and takes full responsibility for the progress of the project.
- can communicate efficiently and effectively with other leader coordinators and volunteers in need of direction.
- is resourceful in more than one way, whether it is working with volunteers or meeting with nonprofit organizations to inspire new ideas.
- presents themselves in a positive and professional manner when needed, and ably represents an organization or members of a community.
These are just some characteristics that could describe a volunteer leader, but many more exist. Everyone is capable of being a leader. The important thing to remember is that you have to want it, to get it. If you like working with people, positively, and enjoy taking on challenges and responsibilities, you are most likely a leader. You are either a leader in your classes, in school groups, at work, in clubs you belong to or you are probably a leader to others who look up to you, follow you, and respect you.
Leadership by diverse groups of people is taking place all around us every day. We should encourage more people to take on leadership roles and work together, just as volunteers stand together to fight for a cause, a belief, and even stand together to defend a community—a group of people who they don’t even know. That is true leadership.
What do you think about leadership and its roles? Share your thoughts in the comment box below. Share anything related to leadership in volunteer projects, organizations, or whatever else you’ve experienced in which leadership aided in your success!