I am going to assume that most people want to know how effective their leadership skills are. It is human nature to want to be good at everything you do. Sadly, more people rely on position and the extended authority rather than leadership and influence.
Here is a great way that you can test your leadership effectiveness. This can take you many places in life and teach valuable lessons. As a leader, this will also show you valuable areas of recruitment for the leaders of tomorrow.
I have been involved in volunteer organizations for most of my life. I am a second-generation Eagle Scout and fourth-generation ScoutMaster. Since around the start of the first world war, my family has been involved in the Boy Scouts of America. My 74 year old grandfather still suits up weekly to serve the community as a (now assistant) ScoutMaster.
From an early age I began working with scouting. I rose through the ranks as a boy until I was the highest ranking boy in the troop. Leading a joint expedition through the mountains of New Mexico or a contingent at the National Jamboree, I was lucky to have been exposed to leadership at both.
My days in scouting taught me a lot about people and leadership. When I joined the local volunteer fire department at 19, I opened a door that would add value to leadership lessons that I had not realized yet. Quite simply, volunteer organizations taught me more about leading than any course, textbook, and even professional (paid) experience did.
The one thing I learned about volunteer organizations is that when people volunteer, you have their hearts (most of the time). The heart is an amazing resource to have. People will go to the moon if their heart is in it. The greatest problem with the heart though comes from the lack of power.
People Matter in Leadership
People matter in any organizations, but how you treat them says more than any slogan or motto. If you try to lead someone with the power and control of a boss (positional), you can quickly lose their heart and then body. To accomplish leadership in volunteer organizations, we have to influence people to do the things we want because they want to.
Some of the best leadership lessons I have learned came from learning how to deal with volunteers. Using that in my leadership style has helped me understand that people matter. When someone knows how much you care, they begin to care about how much you know and can add value to them.
Question: What experiences with volunteer organizations have you had? You can leave a comment by clicking here.