Volunteer and Learn

Volunteering taught me more about management than I learned on the job or earning my MBA. In business, I can tell staff what to do, my way or the highway, and many managers manage that way. Yes, not the best management style. But, try that method with a volunteer force and see how far you get. Managers in a volunteer, community service have to communicate effetely, delegate, organize, coordinate and work well with others. Volunteers can vote quickly with their feet, if they don’t like your management or communication style. AND you have to learn with a diverse pool of people; you don’t pick and choose who will volunteer and whom you will work with. You have to find ways to work, and produce with those that have come forward and volunteered, their time, talent and treasure. Volunteering has made me a better manager, a better communicator and a better member of my community. Senior management should compel their management staff, and themselves, to volunteer. The ROI on volunteering in soft skills, communication skills, management skills are immense, a factor of 10 or higher.
Volunteer, the lessons learned are invaluable, but measurable. Here are opportunities from a great community organization, Mayflower RSVP. And tell them Jim sent you, and the one that inspired me @janebford.

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