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What volunteer leadership experience brings to your business?

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Volunteering is a great way to connect with the community and enhance skills required in ones’ profession. Over the years, I have held various leadership roles within a global non-profit organisation that develops young adults and empowers people to carryout humanitarian projects in their communities. During this time, I have met, interacted with, and learnt from several successful leaders. In this article, I will share key points and highlight the added value an individual with such experience brings to an organisation.

Ignite Zeal for the cause

Volunteer leaders have innate passion for the cause they believe in, and are driven by zeal. They are go-getters and they endeavour to make the most of opportunities they receive. This is evidently reflected in the abundance of energy and enthusiasm they bring to every situation. They work with the awareness that life situations change, and such opportunities to lead and directly contribute don’t last forever. I have come across many volunteer leaders who have dedicated their entire lives to a single cause. On gaining experience in motivating fellow volunteers, they develop exceptional people and communication skills filled with values of love in action.

Get things done

Everything a volunteer organization has implemented – an event, a campaign or even a promotion, was once just an idea. A volunteer leader deliberates with the team to strategize the steps necessary to execute the idea. Ideas are broken up into actionable steps, team members’ skills are assessed, and appropriate tasks are assigned to set the team up for success. They brainstorm, evaluate foreseeable challenges, address concerns, make decisions, and reflect. The leader is visionary and has an entrepreneurial mind-set. They are strategic in their approach, and use lessons from everyday life for the benefit of the organization.

Value their values – Grit and resilience

With resource constraints, differences in ideas and perspectives are sure to arise. It is up to the leader to get to the bottom of the situation and drive towards a solution. Volunteer leaders address these challenges with amicable approaches, navigate forward and stay committed to the values that form the basis of the group. Grit and resilience are traits you would commonly observe in volunteer leaders, especially when leading in adversity.

Dive Deep

Volunteer leaders are known to tackle extra-ordinary challenges that appear to be overwhelming. Interestingly, leaders use these opportunities to dive deep within their inner resources and draw on energy to take on such challenges. Through this process of mindfulness, they can visualize the end goal, self-motivate, and turn their passion into an example of encouragement and empowerment. They are able to refocus their mind, establish connections, and engage large groups of enthusiastic people. They are courageous and certainly winners.  

In the words of Albert Schweitzer, let us remember: “Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.”
Originally published on LinkedIn on April 19, 2017

Written by
Shivendra Kumar
Shivendra Kumar is a highly regarded leader, known for delivering organizational transformation through innovation and process improvement. With a unique approach and inspirational leadership style that creates a culture of change in businesses, he develops organisational capability needed for both short and long term results. His blogs cover topics related to business improvement, metrics and innovation.