“People will forget your words, but they won’t forget your attitude.” – A sign I saw somewhere
I read something years ago that has stuck with me ever since. Basically, it said that, as humans, we tend to read all sorts of implied motivations into other people’s behaviors, while expecting them to take everything that we say absolutely at face value – sad thing is, that doesn’t work. HOW we interact with our volunteers is in reality more important that the WHAT of what we are doing with them in almost every circumstance.
So how do we deal with this practically? Realistically, a great first step is by remaining calm. We have, by the very nature of what we do, a series of mini-crises that occur virtually every weekend. We need to fix things, adjust things, add things, cut things, tweak things, etc… It gets messed up, though, when we let these mini (or even major) crises change the way that we deal with people. It is never OK to throw a fit on (or in front of) people just because we’re stressed. I have done it, and have regretted it every time – I have seriously damaged relationships by going on little tirades, and it just can’t happen. We’re grown ups, and our people are looking to us to be the calm in the storm – not to make things more stormy. More to come…
Actually, this is one of our staff guys, but we do have volunteer soundpeople (and it was a cool picture), so I used it anyway! : )