Help Them Help Them
This post originally appeared on December 9, 2010.
It’s the post so nice, I named it twice.
If you’re a leader of people, part of your job is to help people help people. In the church world, volunteers tend to volunteer because they want to help people. Oh sure, occasionally you’ll have a volunteer who signs up for the parking team because they really like wearing orange and standing outside in freezing weather, or a kids’ worker who really likes the smell of dirty diapers in the morning, but for the most part it’s the “helping people” thing.
I was listening to Joseph Michelli’s Starbucks Experience podcast recently, and he said this: “‘Wow’ does not mean teaching your staff to do heroic things for customers; it means simply helping them be resourceful enough to either get it right or make it right.”
So what do you do to help your volunteers be “resourceful enough”? Here are a few questions…
- Do they have the tools they need to do the job? (curriculum, traffic cones, project supplies, music library, flame thrower)
- Do they have the training they need to do the job? (initial training, ongoing training, the ability to think on their feet and answer questions they weren’t trained for, a clear understanding of the “why” behind the “what”)
- Do they have the personal touch they need to do the job? (is the chain of command clear? Do they know who they report to? Is that person easily accessible? Does that person check in on them regularly?)
- Do they have the assessment they need to do the job? (Volunteers often fail not because they’re ineffective, but because they’re ineffective in that particular assignment. Do you take the time to properly interview them and match their skill and passion to their position?)
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