What if Your Team Members Were Volunteers?

In our last Coach’s Questions blog we talked about “Changing Other People” and that changing how we react to other people sometimes changes how they interact with us.

It’s the classic, if not ironic, reality that to change others we must change ourselves.

This time I’m proposing we take it a bit further — changing how we relate to our entire team – could it strengthen the whole team? Could it improve our corporate culture?

Imagine for a moment that your team (your staff, or your peers) are all unpaid volunteers.

They are doing what they do because they truly believe in the organization and its mission.

The hours they put in, whether longer than most, or shorter than some, are an unpaid labour of devotion. They aren’t here for the money.

Maybe they’re here to learn from you, or they’re here to build up some experience in your industry so that they can be really good at their role. And they chose to gain that experience, and contribute what they can contribute, to you and your organization.

Do you think that would that change how you interact with your team?

I’ve tried it, (and some of our clients have tried it), and here’s what I found: I had a little more patience with people who were trying to do their best but maybe weren’t yet meeting my perfectionist tendencies.

I had a bit more interest in sharing my own experience. I was less possessive of information and knowledge, and more willing to share it with those who wanted to learn.

I was a bit more engaged in learning what makes them tick. 

To emphasize what is perhaps obvious — they hadn’t changed, but I had consciously changed my mindset and it made work more enjoyable for me. I ended each day feeling that I had contributed more. I felt the workplace had become even more positive and engaging.

Regular readers of The Coach’s Questions probably won’t be surprised to hear that changes occurred in reverse, as well. Staff who had frustrated me before seemed to become stronger contributors, colleagues and I began to see eye-to-eye on problems that had challenged us previously.

As usual, it wasn’t a panacea. There were still challenges, there were still days I forgot to engage everyone as a loyal volunteer and there were days where my most diligent efforts were lost on others.

But overall, it moved me in a direction I was happy about, and it moved our organization the same way.

Coach’s Questions

What might change, for you and your team, if you tried this approach? Are there any significant risks?  I would leave you with this — are the potential gains greater than the risks? and is it worth trying? If you do, let me know how it works for you.

If you’re willing to share — please leave a comment or two below.

As I looked back on my own experience I realized that many of the traits I associated with volunteers were already a part of our team. I just needed to remind myself of that fact, and to bring that knowledge to work with me each day.

Taking a few moments to think about it, and then a few moments throughout the day to ensure I was implementing it strengthened me, and my team.

This has been a small example of how coaching helps leaders see things from a new angle and increase their own success.

One-on-one coaching and team coaching is focused on YOU.

Today’s topic may not address your obstacles or challenges, but working directly with a coach will allow you to work on what you want to work on, to make strides where you want to succeed.

If you are interested in how an Executive Coach and provocative questions can help you think bigger, see things differently and find new routes to even greater success, give us a call – toll free (855) 818-0600 x 101.

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