We all know that volunteering is beneficial to the community, but this may not be a good enough reason for you to join a volunteer group. When you realize, however, that volunteering can help you enhance your leadership skills, you will definitely become interested in spending your time as a volunteer.
According to statistics, employed individuals are more likely to participate in volunteer programs than those who are unemployed. This is because workers know that volunteering can give them the experience and skills that they need in order to advance their careers. Interestingly, more and more companies are willing to pay their employees for volunteering.
So how does volunteering help make a good leader?
You gain a broader perspective
When you volunteer, you naturally go out of your comfort zone because you will have to work with new people, take on new challenges, and learn new skills. What volunteering basically does is make you set new goals and priorities. By hanging out with different people with varying backgrounds and life experiences, you learn different ways to overcome challenges. The projects that you will take on with these people will definitely change the way you think about life itself, and this is what will give you a wider perspective on how you should live your life and proceed in your career.
You discover your hidden skills and talents
Although you are interested, you may find it quite risky to discover new skills at work. But if you work as a volunteer, you give yourself a chance to actually try out an untested skill of your own. Volunteer organizations always welcome help from anyone offering it. You won’t even be judged based on your qualifications as long as you have the desire to help. A good leader is aware that learning from experience is essential in professional growth. As a leader also, you would want to encourage your staff to volunteer so that they can discover their hidden skills, which the company can take advantage of.
You will learn how to be a follower
As the saying goes, a great leader is a good follower. Of course, you wouldn’t know how to make your people follow you if you don’t even know what it means to follow a leader. By joining volunteer programs, you won’t be considered as superior to anyone. Everyone is equal. This experience will help you understand what it takes to be an effective leader. It will teach you also how to adjust to an environment where you don’t have power, which will teach you humility.
You will gain a bigger network
Through volunteering, you have a chance to meet people coming from different fields. This is a huge advantage for you because you will never know when you may decide to try out a different career. As we all know, making some huge career moves is inevitable, especially if you aspire to have a fulfilling and gratifying career.
Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Center, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe..© 2014 Cecile Peterkin
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