The Rough Ashlar

Thoughts from a Traveling Man

The Rough Ashlar - Thoughts from a Traveling Man

Adieu, Fancy Apron, or How Not to Treat Volunteers

DIW ApronI was presented with this apron about five years ago or so, when I became the District Instructor of Work. Today I gave it back. I enjoyed teaching the ritual and helping people figure out how to be better officers and members, but there seemed to be an ambient level of tomfoolery that came with the position. What pushed me over the edge on the decision to quit was the philosophy of those who managed the position.

I had been studying for a professional certification and said that I did not have time to arrange something until I was done with my exam. I was told that was unacceptable. I then decided to see how unacceptable it would be to just give the apron back.

Here’s the thing about volunteers you manage. As long as they communicate with you and set expectations, you have to do two basic things: appreciate their “yes” and honor their “no”. It is really just about that easy. People volunteer for the jobs they are interested in, and sometimes for the ones they are passionate about. The last thing you should do is chase them away by setting unrealistic expectations or expectations that interfere with their other commitments.

You need your volunteers more than they need you and they can be time-consuming and expensive to replace. They have lives and work outside of the lodge and you have to respect their boundaries concerning these other areas. Otherwise you will have good, qualified people quit on you, like I did. They didn’t even lose me for a good reason, like some sort of inability on my part. It was just one too many demands I didn’t want to deal with. That is a dumb reason to lose someone from your team.

Category: Leadership

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