Volunteer Leadership – A Horse of a Different Color

The first time I retired, I reveled in the freedom of having successfully grown a start-up from pre-revenue to profitability. I felt complete, satisfied, and ready to work on my golf game and settle in to our new home in the Valley of the Sun. That didn’t last very long. Soon I found myself at the helm of a local non-profit, managed and run completely by volunteers.

This community-based charity was 16 years old, and while the mission was still very pertinent, the image and fundraising methods were tired. In some respects, this felt similar to a start-up in need of rebranding and a new round of investment. With the Chair position came a set of opportunities that were new to me — leading an all-volunteer Board and workforce. Also, collaborating with people who had been successful in their own careers, now retired, and wanting something to keep them engaged but not necessarily “do” any heavy lifting.

Successful executives often find themselves in charge of a non-profit — the company’s United Way campaign, the Youth Group fundraiser at church, or the golf tournament for the local Children’s Hospital.

Practice these three strategies to help you straddle the divide between corporate executive and leader of an all volunteer effort.

Read more from this column at One Idea Away.

Step Away From the Spotlight: The Key to Great Leadership

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” —Nelson Mandela

We’ve all worked for leaders who are great, and those who weren’t so great. What makes a great leader? One who can inspire their organization to achieve far more than they dreamed. One who makes the hard work worth it in everyone’s eyes. One who makes each and every person feel valued, respected and recognized for their contribution. And one who makes it fun!

All leaders can become great leaders with three simple practices.

Read more from this column at One Idea Away.

The Real You is a Great Leader – Honest!

What would your organization be like if everyone were more personally engaged? How would the atmosphere in the office change? Would there be more laughter? What impact would that have on customer satisfaction? What could you accomplish?

Have you ever put on “the happy face” for your team and sheltered them from things that are not going right? You spilled coffee on your pants on the way to work, the investors are clamoring for growth you just can’t envision, or you’re concerned about production issues? As a strong leader, it’s understandable to feel that you always need to highlight the positive and to hide the obstacles to keep a motivated team. But this not only takes its toll on you, but also the others in the company, your family, and friends. They’re always more perceptive than you may think.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom.”

Let the you shine through, authentically, with bumps and bruises showing. Your company or team is looking for a true leader, an honest one who shares the good news and the bad news, mistakes, and victories because you are all in the same boat. This is a true form of respect and yields amazing results. This is a more effective and real way to approach obstacles to turn them into opportunities. It’s your choice and all about attitude.

You can do this with three simple strategies.

Read more from this column at One Idea Away.