How to Inspire Others

In my last blog, I talked about inspiring others. This got me thinking about what “inspiration and inspiring others” means. I started thinking about what inspires me. I volunteer to give back to my community, and I lead to inspire others.

Show Personal Leadership:

In my younger days, I looked at leadership as a command post that only came when you achieved a management title. As I matured, I realized that leadership comes from within.

What we do with the talents we are given and the skills that we learn is a key part of our success as leaders. Inspiring others gives us the opportunity to share that knowledge. It is a big part of the leadership responsibility and accountability I take in performing my volunteer roles.

It begins with a simple, cheery “Good Morning,” which sets a positive tone to begin the day. Throughout the day, I do what I can to enable and encourage open and friendly communications between paid staff and other volunteers to strengthen their relationships and build working teams.

More often than not, inspiring others means encouraging them to say what they are thinking, share their ideas, or speak up when they can improve a process or see that something is not working well. Their voices and contributions often positively influence the outcome of a situation.

Listen:

Another way that I inspire volunteers is to hear their stories and help them aspire to roles that raise their interest and potential, help them grow, and provide a bigger contribution to the organization.

I was surprised to hear that many volunteers were not aware of the full scope of roles that are available to them, and that they felt limited in their current role. After learning about their backgrounds and diversity of skills, as well as their leadership abilities, it opened an opportunity to explore new ways of capturing information about volunteer skills, and linking that to the needs of the organization’s departments.

From time to time, I ask myself, what is the legacy that I want to leave behind? Lately, I hear people measuring themselves by their carbon footprint; I talk about what my volunteer leadership print will be. Do you want to be remembered by how many hours you put into your role, or the difference you made through effective leadership decisions and contributions?

If you are a volunteer leader who has inspired others, or have been inspired by a volunteer (after all, we are all leaders), please share your stories with us.

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3 Comments on “How to Inspire Others”


  1. Sometimes too, inspiring others can be through our actions, not necessarily our words! Setting that outstanding example, going steps beyond what is expected, acting in a professional manner,doing without being asked – all are good examples of inspiring by actions.

  2. Eric Knieling Says:

    I have volunteered since November, 2008 for a Model of Significant Service program founded by NCOA and the University at Albany, Center for Excellence in Aging Services – ExcelleShare. I have served on the Vision Council since November, 2008, helping to envision the direction and development of turning this model to a real program of service, which began back two years ago. I was fortunate to have served as Executive of the Council on an interim basis in July and August, as we began preparation for our Dissemination event on October 8th, in Albany, NY.

    We have seen tremendous growth in the program over the past year. We have completed our initial project with a community partner a few months ago, with highly satisfactory feedback. We are currently working with a school district to revamp their volunteer management program; mentoring two newly hired VISTA volunteers who are reviewing the volunteer management system and recruitment system, with a mandate to overhaul both, and with a local intergenerational program to help them develop better evaluation standards and processes to help them retain funding.

    I totally agree with your commnts re leadership, and leadership by example. In my prior career, I’ve been in positions of leadeship from the age of 27, through age 57, when I retired. I have found that listening to others, and utilizing the talents of your staff (now volunteers), being open-minded about what they can do, and being courteous and pleasant are the keys to success. I had a few very wise mentors during my career who taught me that leadership truly does come from “within;” that getting work done through others is the challenge of leadership, and that building good professional and sometimes resulting in personal relationships, is the most effective way to accomplish your goals. Kudos on the article.

  3. senitra rodgers Says:

    to me volunteering is a privelege an honor because i feel i am, in those moments shareing the very best parts of me


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