October 31, 2010

A Letter to My Manager

Posted in Leading Volunteers, Managers Matter at 3:08 am by Sue Hine

It’s International Day for Appreciating Managers of Volunteers next Friday.

I’ve thought of all sorts of ways to tell you on November 5 just how much I appreciate the work you do.  I thought of organising a street parade, but there’s been enough demonstrating lately, what with Hobbit marches and labour union protests.  And I can’t compete with Guy Fawkes and all the fireworks – just hope they don’t detract from the importance of the day for you.  I thought of starting a Facebook page, or getting all my fellow-volunteers and the staff to send you e-cards.  We could come and sing to you, except my voice would add a discordant note.

So I decided an old-fashioned letter would have to do.  Here is what I really like:

  •  The way you communicate, by email or phone, in your regular newsletters – you make me feel this is a personal message, that I am really important.
  • And you keep us up-to-date with what’s happening in the organisation – so even when I am volunteering only once a fortnight I still know I belong.
  • You make sure we know our efforts are valued, just how much volunteers contribute to the organisation.  I specially like it when you can show how we have ‘added value’, like when a customer lets you know how about the extra-thoughtful service a volunteer offered.
  • The training and support you organise is spot-on.  You know how to get the right pitch to get us engaged and to keep us on track.
  • You have set the standard for performance.  We are striving to match it, and to outdo your expectations.  Because we want to follow your lead.
  • You know how to stretch our abilities, so I am learning new skills and more about myself.
  • You give us responsibilities, and then trust in our capacity to carry them out. 
  • And you make sure we always have a back-stop to go to for help.
  • You introduce me to all the staff, and it’s so nice when they welcome me and remember my name.
  • You say ‘Thank You’ over and over, and it never sounds like you are just parroting a phrase.
  • I love the way you are always so ready to listen, to have a conversation – about whatever.  And I can hear in your responses how well you listen to me.
  • You are interested in what is happening with our families, in our personal lives.  Which means you also know just when to tap me for an extra job, or when to leave me off the list. 

Thank You, dear Manager, for all these things.  Three Cheers, for your professionalism, your creative leadership, and most of all for your faith and confidence in me and all volunteers.

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