Studies show that respect ranks above even recognition and appreciation. When volunteers know you respect them, they will go the distance with you.
Respect is rooted in how you make people feel. You are either making your volunteers feel respected or disrespected.
Here are some practical ways to give your volunteers respect.
Listen to them.
Show your voulnteers that you respect their opinions and ideas by actively listening when they are talking to you. Ask questions and then really listen instead of just thinking about what you will say next.
Ask for their ideas and input.
Be proactive in asking your volunteers for input and ideas to improve the ministry. In this post, I share some great ways to do this. When volunteers know they can contribute, it communicates respect.
Always show them kindness.
It's not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. I remember an incident years ago, when I was stressed out and spoke unkindly to a group of our volunteers. As soon as I said it, I saw their countenance drop and knew I had made a mistake. I apologized and thankfully they forgave me and continued serving. It was a great learning experience for me.
Return their phone calls and emails.
Have you ever left someone a message or sent them an email and never heard anything back? It made you feel disrespected, didn't it. Return phone calls and respond to emails within 24 hours.
Give feedback privately.
Correcting a volunteer in front of other people makes him or her feel disrespected. Ask their permission to give them feedback and then do it 1-on-1. Give them steps they can take to improve or adjust what they are doing.
Doug Conant became the CEO of Campbell's soup in 2001. The company was in decline and had lost half it's market value. Doug turned the company around. A few years later, the team members were setting all-time performance records.
The secret? He showed them respect. This included Doug writing over 30,000 personal thank you notes to team members. When people feel respected, they flourish.
What are some ways you show your volunteers respect? Share with us in the comment section below.