Communities Are Looking For Leaders Like You

As important as leadership is in the corporate world, it is equally important, and not nearly discussed as often, in our communities.  With the increased pressure placed on towns and school across the country to manage budgets and keep spending to a minimum, there is a greater and growing need for local organizations, typically driven by volunteer efforts, to help make up the difference. bealeaderinyourcommunity

In both direct and indirect ways, you, your family, and your neighbors, are impacted by these groups.  Especially if you have young children in your family, think of the categories of organizations that you interact with and/or can affect you on a regular basis:

  • Local township committees (planning and zoning boards, parks committees, sometimes even your elected officials)
  • Places of worship
  • Parent/Teacher Organizations at local schools
  • Youth recreation sports and leagues
  • Civic groups (Lions, Elks, Masons, Rotary, etc.)
  • Chamber of Commerce

Have you ever found yourself disappointed with one of these groups?  Dropped out if you were once involved? Watched participation and/or membership decline?  All too often these things happened because the organization did not have the proper leadership to grow it, mature it, sustain it, and/or have a succession plan for the next leaders to help take over.

Believe me, I think it is wonderful that people are willing to volunteer their time and energy to these causes.  They are typically well intended by contributing their time, but may not be equipped with strong leadership skills.  Sometimes, unfortunately, people even get involved because they like the “power trip” for themselves, and do not make the service to others their priority, which can make matters even worse.

In my opinion, there are clear distinctions between the traits of leaders and managers.  To quote Peter Drucker, “management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  These organizations typically need both.  If a club or organization you are involved with seems to be struggling with doing the right things, ask yourself:

  • Is there a clear vision of what the association or activity is aiming to accomplish?
  • Has that vision been clearly communicated to other members or participants?
  • Is the leader open to your ideas and suggestions, and works to incorporate them?
  • Is there a strategy or plan in place to guide others to achieve those goals?
  • Has the leader been able to get support and resources to realize the vision successfully?

If the answers to these questions is “No”, and it is an association or activity you care deeply about, how do you help change that?  For starters, you don’t need to be in the “head role” to be a leader within an organization.  You can start small within that group and help make a difference.  The small successes can grow and blossom into larger successes as more participants see the opportunities and get excited about achieving goals.  Make sure to engage others and get their input, and empower them to take action.  Chances are they may have been as frustrated or disappointed as you were, and happy to see an opportunity to contribute.  Ask the manager / director of the organization if there are areas within the group where they are struggling.  They many know subconsciously that they are not a strong leader, but don’t want to admit it, or not comfortable asking for help.

So, organize a workshop or luncheon, chair a PTO committee, coach a team, and get involved.  Your leadership skills and interest will begin to rub off on others.  An injection of your leadership can help cure what an organization is suffering from.  You may think you don’t have the time in your busy schedule for this, but if you believe strongly enough in it and are passionate about it, you will make the time.  #bealeader in your community – your family and neighbors need you.  Help make a difference!

Brian Dakin

Brian Dakin

Founder and Principal at Rhombus Consulting, Inc. at Rhombus Consulting, Inc.
Brian Dakin is the founder and Principal of Rhombus Consulting, a provider of project management services and subject matter expertise for technology initiatives in the life science industry. Brian has more than 20 years of experience in management consulting, including roles at global firms Coopers & Lybrand Consulting and Ernst & Young. Brian’s client engagements typically involve work with company senior executives and result in implementing key strategic initiatives for their organization. Outside of the office, Brian is actively involved in local activities, including his township’s Parks Committee, coaching youth recreation sports, and chairing PTO Yearbook committee at his children’s school. In addition to consulting work, Brian’s latest endeavor has been work on authoring “The On The Ball Theory”, a framework and interrelation of eight key traits that drive personal and professional success. Brian strongly believes leadership is one of the eight traits that is interwoven in successful people. The On The Ball Theory framework is meant to be fun, flexible, and applicable to all facets of daily life. Although still in its early stages, Brian invites you to visit The On The Ball Theory blog and welcomes your feedback!
Brian Dakin
Brian Dakin
Brian Dakin

Comments

comments

6 Comments

  • February 13, 2014

    AlaskaChickBlog

    Hey Brian! Welcome and nice to meet you!! What a great post. We often forget to focus on our immediate circles and communities, so this was a great post for us all, I believe. By that I don’t mean folks don’t care- but we even here, tend to focus on the world as a whole, our Teams and how to better serve them… often leaving out each of the places you mention- which any or all of them have a place in most of our lives. (Weird, eh?) 

    I loved how you shared ideas how to help these organizations and communities stay or become strong/stronger- because honesty as strong as any of us may be in our work and Leadership- when we are amongst our intimates, sometimes it seems to be harder. We tend to be a little more sensitive ourselves and more careful or afraid of “butting in” or even, being rejected. Thank you for this. This is really a huge part of who each of us are. It’s important.

  • February 13, 2014

    Jen Olney

    Welcome Brian! What a great post to kick off with for #bealeader. Every one can be a leader in their own part of the world by volunteering their time and service.

  • February 13, 2014

    CASUDI

    AlaskaChickBlog I agree we are often so focused on our own teams and on what we do online that we completely miss the local community where we live. I know I am guilty of this. My focus locally is helping solo or small business owners be sustainable. One of my justifications for doing this is I feel I can be more effective doing this, one on one, so speak rather than working within an actual group or organization in the community where the speed of implementation is often bogged down by committees. 
    ( I have personally found this to be true in the past)

    This post is an excellent reminder of the “shoemakers shoes” and  how we should be looking around at our local communities to help. Thank you so much Brian.

  • February 13, 2014

    OnTheBallTheory

    amabaie thanks for the mention, David! Greatly appreciated!

  • February 14, 2014

    OnTheBallTheory

    sdekins Hi Susan – thanks for forwarding – greatly appreciate it!

  • February 14, 2014

    OnTheBallTheory

    tonyrichards4 Thanks Tony – greatly appreciate it!