Guest Post by Jessica Freeman
You sign up for a volunteering program, willing to learn as much as possible. However, the disappointment occurs shortly after: you realize that the people in the organization are giving you silly tasks and you don’t even get in touch with the leaders. How are you supposed to obtain leadership skills in such a surrounding?
What does being a leader mean, anyway? A modern leader has self-confidence and works for a higher purpose. They embrace change and approach learning as a lifelong process.
Develop Leadership Skills While Volunteering
You can develop all those qualities through volunteering. It’s all about having the right approach. Volunteering is an extremely valuable chance for developing yourself as a future leader. You’re not seeing all opportunities your position offers, so it’s easy to miss out on them. We’ll give you the top 7 ways to acquire leadership skills as a volunteer in any organization.
1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
When you volunteer, you challenge yourself to work with new people and explore new surroundings. If you want to be a great leader, that’s where you need to be exactly – outside your comfort zone.
What can we learn from volunteering in the Red Cross, for example? This organization puts us in front of new challenges every single day. That’s the kind of profound experience that teaches you how to react in different situations. That’s the thing that makes you tough and ready to face any situation.
2. Develop Your Soft Skills
When we volunteer, we’re mostly focused on developing professional skills. That’s great, but we’re neglecting another important aspect. Authenticity, positivity, and confidence – those are only a few of the soft skills you can develop by being part of any organization.
You develop authenticity through your daily contact with people. Volunteering gives you a chance to be positive as well. You’re doing everything in your power to make society better, and that’s the kind of positive attitude that leadership needs. Finally, you become more confident that you can make changes and that you’re an important link between people.
3. Use the Chance; Write about Your Experiences
When a professor or an employer encourages you to volunteer, they expect you to share the experience. This is a chance for you to develop exceptional writing skills. Write a working diary, every single day. You can even create a blog, where you’ll share your experience with a wider audience. Then, you’ll put those experiences together in a report with the proper format. If you don’t know how to do that, a writing service like Australian Writings can help.
Writing skills are crucial for proper leadership. Today, leaders don’t call people in their offices to talk about the work. They do have meetings, but most of the communication is written. Needless to say, great leaders are also expected to write books. That’s how they establish themselves as leadership stars.
Every chance to volunteer is an opportunity to learn. The voluntary sector is an eye-opener. No matter how much you think you know, you end up realizing there are many things you don’t know. There are always new goals to achieve and a clear vision to support.
Maintain that hunger for learning; you’ll need it when you become a leader.
5. Build a Network
Maybe you won’t be in touch with great leaders when you volunteer. Maybe you’ll only make photocopies, bring coffee, or attend people who come in the organization. Whatever the case is, you’ll still be in contact with people from all walks of life. There’s a name for that: networking, and it’s extremely important for developing leadership skills.
Don’t be focused on meeting the ‘big guys.’ See everyone as a contact. This is a great chance for you to work on your communication skills, so use it well.
6. Be Passionate about Giving
The core principle of volunteering is giving. You help people and groups to surpass different challenges. You make society better, and that’s the kind of passion you need for successful leadership. Choose a cause you’re passionate about and maintain the enthusiasm throughout the process of volunteering. Then, extend that mindset to everything else you do.
Volunteering gives you space for trying new things. This is your chance to take risks and handle different situations differently. When one approach doesn’t work, another strategy will. You are only a volunteer, which means you’re not getting paid for what you do. That means it’s easier to take risks and adjust yourself to the situation as your intuition tells you to. That’s leadership, right there.
Volunteering gives you benefits you can’t ignore. Not only does it make you a better person, but it makes you a true leader as well. Plus, it’s more fun than you assume!
Jessica Freeman is a professional journalist and a devoted freelance content writer from Australia. She enjoys writing, traveling, and learning new things. Read about college life and find great writing tips on her blog for students. Meet her on Facebook and Twitter.
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7 Ways to Develop Leadership Skills While Volunteering