It’s a very common scenario—times are tough and there’s a budget squeeze. So what’s a great team leader supposed to do? THE ANSWER – take a lesson from nonprofits and use the tools they have developed for motivating and rewarding volunteers. There are many lessons I’ve learned from coaching and leading volunteers. Here are some tips from my 30 years of experience…
#1 – STAFF BY STRENGTHS AND APPOINT BY PASSIONS
Make sure you have your team maximized from the beginning. That means assigning tasks and responsibilities that match personal strengths and passions. We hit a double bull’s eye when we are doing the things we like that we also do well. That keeps us motivated way beyond long hours and challenging assignments. Organizations that leverage their workers well are good at identifying individual strengths and personal motivations. Make sure you are doing the same with your team.
#2 – LET THEM LEAD
Empower your team members to make decisions and take initiative at appropriate levels of responsibility. Give them space to fly in. Customize each person’s air space appropriately, according to their abilities. Let them lead you by listening to them and learning from their “frontline” insights. Every person is an expert in their 25 square feet of space. When you respect their opinions, they feel valued, and it’s hard to price that! And a funny thing happens… they value and respect you more as a leader.
#1 is a great start. If you’re not interested in what you’ve been assigned to do… you’re going to delay and procrastinate until last minute, or at least do the bare minimum to consider it “completed”.