Have you ever considered what sets a great volunteer apart from a good one?  Why do some people soar while others flounder?  There are a number of obvious factors which affect a person’s performance:

  • Skillset
  • Experience
  • Talent
  • Scope of their role

While all of those play a part – I believe the biggest factor affecting the success of a volunteer has to do with the information you give them to start.  We as leaders often offer one of 3 intellectual resources to the people we lead: Tools, Methods or Values. Each are helpful, but they are not equally important.

  • Tools are devices that allows volunteers to carry out a function
  • Methods are procedures that allow volunteers to accomplish a task
  • Values are principles that guide a volunteer’s behavior and judgement

The greatest thing you can give a new volunteer is a set of values to guide them in their work. (Click to tweet)  That is not to suggest methods and tools are obsolete, but rather that they are limited in their impact unless the volunteer starts with a core set of values to direct their steps.  Imparting values will set a volunteer up for long term success by giving them a context for everything they will do.  When a person understands the values they can soar with effectiveness.

  • Good Volunteers serve with the tools they are given. When you give them tools you effectively say “here are the things you will need to do this job.”
  • Better Volunteers serve by the methods they are given. When you give them methods you are saying, “here are the ways you get the job done.”
  • Great Volunteers serve by the values they are given. (Click to tweet) When you impart values you effectively tell them, “here is how you become the sort of person who gets the job done the right way.”

Understanding values is so important because often times life goes off-script.  Tools and methods are important but values direct us even when our tools and methods become outdated or ineffective.

  • Tools will Wear Out
  • Methods will Change
  • Values will Endure

What are the values which guide and direct your team today?  If you don’t know them, go learn them!  If you don’t have them – take time to develop them!  Make sure the people you lead understand what to do (tools), how to do it (methods) and most importantly ensure they understand why do it (values).