Being a volunteer association leader can be very rewarding both professionally and personally. At the same time, it can be one of the most challenging undertakings for a leader.
Let’s face it – people who choose to lead are typically the busiest people we know. There is an old adage, “If you want to get something done, give it to someone that doesn’t have time to do it”. That adage seems to often hold true.
It defies logic though doesn’t it? How could the busiest people we know manage to get more done than other people we know? The busy people aren’t necessarily SMARTER than other people we know; they aren’t BETTER EDUCATED; they aren’t MORE ENGAGING. What makes them so different than other people that they are able to succeed in the job they get paid for, succeed in their family lives AND ALSO find time to help lead an organization of peers on a volunteer basis?
How can volunteer association leaders have a balanced life?
Clearly they have mastered Executive functioning skills. Executive functioning includes the ability to focus or pay attention; ability to organize, plan and prioritize tasks and activities; the ability to focus on the completion of a task already started rather than getting distracted; the ability to recognize differing points of view and assimilate them effectively; the ability to control one’s emotions.
To some people Executive functioning skills are second nature. These people don’t even know they have a skill, practicing these skills is just what they do. Chances are, if you’re a successful volunteer association leader, your Executive functioning skills are strong.
However, to many people Executive functioning is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. The good news is that they can be learned and practiced. The result? A more rewarding life because you are able to accomplish more given the same amount of time and other resources as others.
How can you learn to practice these skills? There are many books, consultants and tutors out there to help. One I’ve found that I like and connected strongly with is a book called Decide by Steve McClatchy. The book is a short read and is very useful.
You can catch a glimpse of Steve’s philosophy and a little about the book by watching this short video clip
Another way to learn these skills is through training provided by your Association Management Company (AMC) or by observing the way your AMC team approaches the business of association management.
At CM Services, we know the volunteer leaders of our association client partners have jobs, families and other outside hobbies and interests. So we don’t waste their time and resources. Instead we provide them with training, guidance and counsel so they can succeed in their volunteer roles with our client partners.