9 thoughts on “How can volunteerism and national service be a training ground for our next generation of great leaders?

  1. The ServiceNation Forum held at Columbia University brought national focus for one evening on primetime TV the need for some structured volunteer service for young Americans. Our country has a rich tradition of leveraging volunteers. The Internet is now helping to reshape how people connect to volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is one way to give back to your community, and to be a servant leader. It’s also a wonderful way to learn how to lead people, how to motivate, how to influence. That connection with other people, that sense of community, is so important.

  2. Through volunteerism, people focus on how much they can give to others versus what they can get. The book, The Go-Giver, really speaks to the change in heart and attitude about giving rather than getting and how it can lead to success. Trust is not a very common characteristic of a lot of our work environments and the pressures can lead us to “take care of #1”. As a volunteer, you tend to focus on serving and trusting while reaping non-monetary rewards which are much more gratifying and lasting.

  3. Thank you for this inspiration!
    Personally, I’ve signed the Service Nation Pledge, am committed to Community Service Projects, “Hope In Action” inspired by Barack via http://www.sv4obama.com, and starting to work with the Craigslist Foundation with plans to coach non-profits – I enjoy coaching “difference makers”.

    I would love to inspire the coaching community (Professional Coach and Mentor Association, PCMA – http://pcmaonline.com) to focus on this opportunity for leadership. I see many possibilities and benefits to our communities and the nation!
    Question: Can you me, help us in Northern CA?

  4. There is unspoken law that govern monetary rewards in the future; the seed you sow in others. Volunteerism give opportunity to next generation leaders to work out their portion of the promised land for a fruitful future harvest, by investing themselves fulfilling others’ needs. Not only it will establish strong foundation but also build up influence- the element they would have made when the are raised at their time. Their maturing process is natural that shape in them unshakable courage and integrity.

  5. The great thing about volunteer work is that you get to work side by side people that you can learn from; people you might not have the chance to be with in your regular job. Young people can also get to perform tasks they have never done before and uncover talents they never knew existed. They can try things without the pressure of a “boss” watching them and evaluating their work. In a volunteer situation, people are generally happy you are just there to help and are more encouraging and actually thank you for your work. Managers could learn a lot by working in a volunteer situation. If people follow you there, then you are truly leading and not just paying people to follow.

  6. When adult students (Project Management) ask how they can land a PM job when they finish their degree, I have a favorite answer. Contact the local United Way now and tell them you are working on a degree in PM. They always need PMs. If you get to choose, find out which projects your preferred future company is focused on and voluteer for that one. It gives the students a chance to be seen now and it usually inspires them to volunteer more. In most cases it gives them an opportunity to prove to themselves what they know.

  7. Volunteers help make non-profits run. We are largely dependant upon their help to teach, lead projects, lead people, and help the church provide excellent customer service in accomplishment of its mission, goals and activities. Pastors and church leaders understand the need we have for volunteers but I am convinced we need to help volunteers see the value of leadership experience in the church. Many times these same skills can and do help fulfill experience needs for jobs and can be quite compelling skills and abiities that they may not have been able to so easily achieve otherwise. We need to convince volunteers to “just jump in.”

  8. I firmly believe that volunteerism is critical at a national and global scale. The proposal by Obama of creating a program that will allow young people to perform civic service and receive assitance for their college tuition is bound to have great results, both at a social and a personal level. Also, the idea of doubling the Peace Corps goes in the right direction to allow American young people to make a contribution in parts of the world where there are real needs.

  9. Volunteering to Lead Volunteers can yield the greatest ROI of any leadership development opportunity. Most volunteer leadership projects are short-term and outcome based. I have developed my ability to clarifiy expecations (1 minute goals), customize recognition (1 minute praising), and re-direct talent ( 1 minute reprimand). Successful leadership involves tapping into the goals, fears and drivers without a formal process or paycheck. Volunteers are also far more likely to give you un-biased, honest feedback on your performance.

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