Sunday, May 20, 2007

Combatting Leadership fatigue

Mon May 14, 2007 12:21 AM

After a whirlwind 10 months of leading a new Chapter and accomplishing many of our original goals I am sensing that some of my board members are suffering from volunteer leader's fatigue. How can I rejuvenate them? What motivators should I, as a chapter president, use. I feel that is is important that we end on the same strong note as we started.

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Eleanor Curtis
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2003
Tue May 15, 2007 1:11 PM

Firstly, congratulations on what must have been a busy and challenging year - I hope it's been a lot of fun! A couple of thoughts for what they're worth - ideas we've adopted in the UK chapter. Firstly, remind everyone of what you've achieved! What did you set out to do and what have you done? If you have your AGM coming up, that would be the natural forum. And your newsletter if you have one. Recognition and explicit thanks goes a long way too. Depending on the funds you have available, this could range from giving everyone a certificate recognising the role they played. Design something and print it yourself. Doesn't cost much at all but if it looks smart, something for people to frame and display in their office. Or perhaps subsidising an evening out. I don't think any less active member would begrudge you rewarding active volunteers in this way. Perhaps you could purchase a webinar or teleseminar which the volunteers could take part in at no charge. We've been lucky in being able to offer scholarships to Leadership Institutes for our leaders - you might be able to ask your region to help with this. These sort of rewards are a good way to encourage future volunteers to step forward as well.

Anyway, hope there's some useful food for thought in there.

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Wilma Mathews, ABC
Senior Contributor

Posts: 95
Joined: Jun 2003
Thu May 17, 2007 6:50 PM

What a great problem to have!
You've got a new, and successful, chapter. Your volunteer board members have worked hard to achieve that success.
It's natural that they would have leader fatigue. Eleanor has given you some excellent ideas for recognizing and honoring your leaders. I'll add one more: write to their supervisors, extolling the wonderful work that individual did. Good words to the boss are always a boost!

Congratulations to you and your team!
Wilma Mathews, ABC
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Martha Retallick
Posts: 13
Joined: Jun 2006
Thu May 17, 2007 7:08 PM

Speaking as someone who is a longtime resident of Free Agent Nation, I hear a lot of advice to get involved with various organizations. And not just to go to meetings, but to help run the organization. Reason: This is considered to be a good way to showcase one's skills to those who might be needing my services.

But, as one local designer once told me after she spent several years with a group (not IABC), "They got free newsletter out of me, but I didn't get any business from them."

So, tip to those of you who are recruiting or retaining volunteers for chapters: Business referrals and leads are a wonderful thing. Especially for your self-employed member/volunteers.

Martha Retallick
Western Sky Communications
Design & Consulting

Dressing your business for success.
On the Internet. And in print

Phone: 520-690-1888

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JUDETTE Coward Puglisi
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2005 Mon May 21, 2007 5:11 AM
Great tips. Thank you. I particularly like the certificate idea. I tend to write short thank you notes but I will consider a longer letter to the board members themselves; most of the IABC T&T board members are senior communicators or entrepreneurs so letters to their bosses may not work.

Martha, I hear what you're saying but I disagree about the "what's in it for me perspective," of your friend. I am somewhat of a professional volunteer (having a father who is a life long Rotarian and who devoted most of his free time teaching sports of underprivileged kids - I can't help but be) but I was taught that volunteerism is a honour and the call to serve, a privilege.

Now don't get me wrong, I have my own communications consulting firm and so leads and business referrals are welcomed and they certainly come my way because of my volunteer efforts, but it is never the focus of my service.

I find that effective networking occurs naturally once you take focus off of getting as opposed to giving. It helps of course to make sure that your volunteer work is of the same high standards as your paid-for work. Another helpful tip for your friend is if she articulated her business needs clearly to influencers within the Association.

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