Employees Are Volunteers!

An interesting quote about leadership comes from Peter Drucker:

Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer…”

What? Treat employees as volunteers? Why on earth would anyone do that? Since employees are paid, surely it’s easier and more convenient simply to tell them what to do, reward them if they do it, and punish them if they fail to do it properly?

This is indeed the way some people lead, but perhaps this command-and-control approach is not as effective as the leader using it thinks it is. As for me, I think Drucker caught the true essence of exceptional leadership with his somewhat provocative words.

True, employees are paid. But, consider these facts:

  • They have chosen the job … and they give generously of their time and dedication to getting the job done … just as a voluteer for a cause might.
  • If they become unhappy, they can also leave the job if they choose … just as a volunteer might.
  • Or they can stay on the job but give less of themselves … just as a volunteer might.

The first of these outcomes is clearly the most desirable one. How best to achieve it?

  • Treat everyone with respect.
  • Work hard to inspire and motivate all kinds of employees.
  • Find a given employee’s strength, and lead him or her accordingly. 
  • Regularly offer feedback, praise when appropriate, and reward.
  • Never take an employee for granted.
  • Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Listen.

In most cases, employees will reward leaders who use these tactics with a volunteer’s heart and mind. With that, leaders can accomplish almost anything.



There Is 1 Response So Far. »

  1. I think that if you treat your employees as volunteers, then the relationship between you and them will also benefit from it. It will create a much more better atmosphere to work in.

Leave a Comment