Leading Volunteers Means Leading the Call to Serve | #Leadership

When leading volunteers, do you think of the challenges of getting unpaid people to show up and follow-through? If that’s what comes to your mind, you may struggle in leading volunteers. Instead of thinking that way, think instead of inspiring and tapping the call to serve. Here’s how.



Leading Volunteers: Image is arch in a blue sky.

Leading Volunteers Means Leading the Call to Serve. Image by Fuzzy Gerdes via Flickr.

Image by: Fuzzy Gerdes via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Leading Volunteers: Lead the Call to Serve

All leaders face the challenge of how to inspire, engage, and lead. When leading employees, many leaders start with the common business goal. From there, they still must inspire and engage everyone. Yet they have the “we’re paying you to focus on this goal” as a starting point. Leading volunteers is another matter. Or is it?


Leading Volunteers: Similarities to Leading Employees

  1. Show respect to those you lead. Essential for all; even more meaningful to volunteers.

  2. Recognize and appreciate them. Employees value this. Volunteers live for it; it is their paycheck.

  3. Be clear and fair. Don’t blame. Everyone expects this. Volunteers exit when you are not clear. They will leave when you are unfair or blame them.



So, how can you lead volunteers while still having rules and accountability?






Leading Volunteers: Lead the Call to Serve

Instead of asking them why they volunteer, ask them why they want to serve. In this way, you let everyone know that the position is all about serving. At the same time, you honor their generous giving. From there, outline how everyone serves each other and the goals by:


  • Overcoming individual preferences to serve the bigger picture.

  • Communicating with other volunteer teams to reach goals together. No silos!

  • Letting others know when you need help.

  • Meeting deadlines or updating everyone when you can’t meet a deadline.

  • Respecting everyone and expecting the same in return. It keeps teams healthy.

  • Putting “we go” before the “ego.”


Leading Volunteers: Serve Them & Call Them to Serve

Above all serve them in return. Be a servant leader rather than a dictator and model service. Sacrifice and the call to serve are not orders you give. They awaken from within. Therefore, when leading volunteers awaken their call to serve.




Now please tell us, when you volunteer to serve, what do you expect from leaders?



From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leadership: Breed Accountability Not Blame
Convert Blame to Accountability
Leaders, Are You Differentiating or Detaching Your Service Teams?
10 Ways Smart Leaders Foolishly Minimize Those They Lead

©2017 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


Stay tuned for my upcoming book Leading Morale! For advance notice on its publication, please leave a comment in the field below.

2 Responses to “Leading Volunteers Means Leading the Call to Serve | #Leadership”

  1. Hi Kate, congratulations on your upcoming book!

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