Inspiring Leadership: How to Motivate, Succeed & Shine Brightly
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Spread Your Sunshine Founder Melanie S. Griffin, Esq. recently recorded a keynote presentation for the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. ("PAF"), which is available by clicking here. As further detailed in the recording as well as below, the presentation focuses on building leadership, empowerment, and inspiration into the Association’s practice. While this presentation was specifically recorded for the PAF, almost all of the discussion and advice given is applicable in a myriad of business and organizational settings. We hope these ideas help you as you work to make everyone in the world around you shine their brightest.
Balancing the “Association’s” Leadership Needs with “Members'” Leadership Needs
A central component of balancing an organization's leadership needs with its members' leadership needs is to align membership excitement and consensus with key organizational priorities through communication, transparency, member engagement, legacy projects, member feedback, membership appreciation, bringing the fun, and knowing members personally.
- Communication & Transparency Are King
More and more, members crave transparency. They do not want to be left in the dark by leadership, whether accidentally or intentionally. Rather, they want to feel like a respected part of the team, which cannot happen when the priorities of the organization are not clearly communicated to everyone, making some members of the organization feel left out and less important than others. Intentional, transparent communications will help build member goodwill and increase member engagement.
Consistent communications via multiple platforms (e.g., e-newsletters, text messages, social media, closed electronic groups) foster transparency. Each of your members communicates differently, especially in multi-generational organizations (i.e., when there are ten or more years between your youngest and oldest members). Appointing a "Communications Director" as an assistant and/or using an app such as Hootsuite that posts to multiple platforms at once can help streamline what can otherwise be a time-consuming process.
- Create Opportunities for Member Engagement & Leadership
The more members you actively involve in your organization, the more successful it will be, as engagement builds investment, excitement and commitment. To engage the maximum number of members, limit one role per member (i.e., a board member should not also be a committee chair). Additionally, intentionally involve members who approach you to volunteer for the organization. One way to do this is to consider what outstanding tasks you and other organizational leaders don’t have time to complete. Assign those tasks to the members who want to volunteer but do not yet have a role. This way, more tasks are accomplished that benefit your membership and you have newly engaged members who know they are valued.
- Determine How to Leave a Legacy Together
Leaving a “legacy” has become evermore important and is something on which younger members are often focused. Simply being engaged in their communities is insufficient. Rather, they want to be a part of organizations that are making positive, meaningful changes in the world around them. Setting an agenda that includes a legacy project is therefore important to both bettering your community and retaining and growing your membership.
- Solicit Member Feedback
Effectively leading your organization requires member feedback beyond that received from fellow board members. In fact, there is oftentimes a disconnect between leadership's and the membership's assessment of an organization that can stem from leadership's insufficient transparent communication or unintentional misinterpretation of the needs of their community. To avoid this situation, solicit member-wide input, such as through a survey or census, so that the broader membership's concerns are taken into account when setting the organization's goals and agenda.
- Love & Appreciate Your Members
Members usually volunteer to better the organization and/or their community, not for recognition. That said, gratitude goes a long way in creating positive member morale. It could be cookies and cupcakes at a meeting, small gifts of appreciation, shout outs on social media, or a letter to a family member or an employer regarding a job well done. Showing your love doesn’t need to cost anything if you don’t have the budget, only the time you take to recognize members in your own unique way.
- Bring the Fun!
No one likes a "meeting," but everyone loves a party. So, make your meetings more festive, such as with themed food and drinks, party favors, or sharing highs and lows of the week. Also plan pre- and/or post-meeting social time to help strengthen relationships between your members, which can be done at both in-person and virtual meetings.
- Know Your Members Personally
Finally, take the time to personally care for your members. When you're busy managing an organization, it is easy to fire off impersonal emails only addressing the business at hand. Avoid this mistake. Take the time at the beginning or end of a conversation, email or other communication to connect with the member about their job, pets, children, or another aspect of their life. In the end, the organization's work will get done. It is the people with whom you work who make the experience special.
Foster High-Performance Within Your Organization
- Clearly Define Success & Hold Your Team Accountable
To complete a project, your team must understand the end goal, which usually starts with defining when the project will be a "success." For example, if a committee is tasked with raising funds to support the organization's charitable endeavors, is the committee's goal raising $5K? $10K? More? Are they to consider other financial options, such as obtaining a business loan from a company like Buddy Loans? Clearly articulating goals for your group is not micromanaging, it is empowering. If your members don't understand your vision, they will not know on what to focus or the tasks that are worthy of their time, decreasing the meaningful work completed on behalf of your group.
When defining "success," remember to inform your members of the tools available to them when working on the project. For example, tasking a committee with planning a party for 500 people is meaningless unless you also inform the committee of the funds in the budget that can be used to host the event.
An added benefit of defining goals is that you can evaluate if they are being met. If not, approach the member from a point of grace remembering that you may be unaware of why the task is incomplete. For example, maybe the member blew off the assigned work, but maybe the member is experiencing a personal problem, such as the death of a loved one or conflict at work. What is important is addressing the situation in a manner that is respectful and completes the work on behalf of the organization, including if that means involving additional team members.
- Motivate Team Members with New Challenges
Research shows that high performers thrive when they are challenged. Thus, assigning the same committee or task to the same member year after year is not only a good way to ensure the project never evolves or improves, it may be a good way to ensure the project regresses. To draw new attention and engagement, be sure to change up your leadership roster on a periodic basis.
Leadership is Not for the Faint of Heart
The most important thing is that your members feel heard and understand how the situation will be addressed. Responding with "no" is better than never informing the member of the resolution. Show that you respect and value the member by hearing them out, thoughtfully considering the options, responding with the one selected, and explaining your reasoning when possible. Even if they do not agree with the outcome, most members will appreciate that you seriously addressed their concern.
For additional information about the forgoing strategies, watch this webinar by clicking here or on the video below.
To follow along with the PowerPoint created for this presentation, please click here or review it below.
Resource Discussed in this Presentation:
And, do YOU have additional tips that will help the SYS community?! OR is there anything that YOU want to learn about to shine your brightest?! We’re sure you have ideas, so please share your suggestions by emailing Melanie@SpreadYourSunshine.com or by sending Spread Your Sunshine a message via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. We love hearing from you, as together we are strongest.
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