Volunteer Spotlight: Gayle Lantz
PUI: Can you give us an example of a leader that you consider to be strong and effective? What is it about this individual that stands out to you?
GL: One of the most impressive leaders I coached was already extremely successful, but wanted to learn more and grow personally. He looked for ways to challenge his thinking and gain exposure to new ideas and perspectives. He modeled what he wanted his team to do. His focus was on growing people as much as growing the business. Service over ego.
PUI: How essential has volunteer leadership been for your own professional development?
GL: My volunteer leadership experience at Career Connections, and with other organizations, has always been mission driven. My strengths are visioning and strategic thinking. If I see a need I really care about and believe I can impact, I will take action – even if the vision isn’t entirely clear at that point. I like to start initiatives that can grow. So professional development has been more of a byproduct as opposed to a goal. But my volunteer leadership experience has been essential in helping me grow personally and professionally.
PUI: What advice would you give to someone looking to find a meaningful volunteer leadership position?
GL: Just start something. Don’t wait. If you feel strongly about a cause, need or mission, talk to other people with similar interests. Voice what you really care about. You can make an immediate impact. Adjust and grow from there. That’s what we did with Career Connections. The need for people to find work was critical. We could have taken days, weeks or months to plan an ideal approach, but we had immediate expertise and support to offer. So we said, “Let’s get started!” I wasn’t looking for a leadership role. I simply wanted to help. I think that’s the case with many volunteer leaders. The leadership role finds them. They take action because they feel compelled to make a positive impact. Progress beats perfection when you’re trying to make a difference.
Gayle, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and provide our readers with such valuable insight from a proven leader.
When you think of a strong leader, who do you think of? Why?
Leave a comment and let us know.
Need to go back? Click for the first half of the interview.
Volunteer Spotlight: Gayle Lantz
Gayle Lantz is a leadership consultant, executive coach, author, speaker and founder of WorkMatters, Inc. She helps organizations and entrepreneurs get clear and focused so they can grow their business and themselves more quickly. She also helps individual leaders who want to take charge of their own career path doing work that matters and provides a lot of good insight & information on the WorkMattersBlog. Her services reach local, national and global markets. As a volunteer leader, she is co-founder of Career Connections.
Projects Unlimited, Inc. (PUI): From your perspective, how can volunteer leaders truly affect positive change in a member-based organization?
Gayle Lantz (GL): By keeping a clear and compelling vision in view. It’s not about “pushing and pulling” people, but inspiring members to be a part of something important that makes a big difference. Engage members in conversations about what the organization is trying to accomplish. Let them know their voice is needed as you move in new directions. Stop trying to do so much yourself, or you’ll burn out.
PUI: Are there any unusual “off the beaten path” type qualities of effective leaders that you find to be particularly endearing and effective?
GL: One quality is enduring optimism. People always want to have a sense of hope. These leaders view challenges through a different lens – one of new possibilities. They also constantly raise the bar, resisting status quo thinking. They expand their vision of what’s possible, and are on fire to make it happen. Instead of trying to go from A to B, they already see G or H down the path. They think bigger.
PUI: Have you noticed any trends in the roadblocks that are keeping individuals or organizations from reaching their full potential as leaders?
GL: Yes. The biggest roadblock is usually their own mindset. Some individuals and organizations hold themselves back based on fears, doubts — unwillingness to take risk, invest or make a mistake. Mindset matters as much as (and sometimes even more than) skills. Also, organizations can be too slow in their decision making – overcomplicating the process – so they miss opportunities to make a stronger impact more quickly.
Click for the second half of the interview.
“The UAB Minority Health Research Center hired Projects Unlimited to assist its Young Professionals Board with our Third Annual All In Casino Royale event. The event was very successful and raised significant funds for the Minority Health Research Center’s Healthy Happy Kids Program.
Shortly after the event, we held a wrap-up meeting during which Projects Unlimited submitted a summary report to the board. It was very well-done. One of the most important components of our work on this board is the compilation of accurate results and useful feedback. If we do not quantify our success each year in dollars and details, we will not know what is working for us and what needs improvement.
Projects Unlimited’s comprehensive review of the All In Casino Royale project will be extremely helpful to the board and to the MHRC moving forward. We’re thankful for all the work they put into our board and our event! They were an invaluable part of our endeavor.”
Donald J. Watkins, Jr.
UAB Minority Healthy Research Center
Young Professionals Board
Miriam Webster online defines competence as “the physical or mental power to do something.”
Synonyms: capability, capacity, faculty.
PUI has the knowledge you need, and we have obtained it through years of experience in the field, getting our hands dirty and tackling key issues for our nonprofit leaders. Our inherent motivation to continue learning about what we do, who we serve, and how we can improve doesn’t hurt, either.
The proof is in the pudding.
You Need: experienced nonprofit management.
- We Have: more than 20 combined years of nonprofit experience.
You Need: to implement standards-based operations for your organization.
- We Have: certification in nonprofit management with four years of industry-based studies, and we’re fully insured.
Constant reminders (for you and your team)
Asking people to do it for you, rather than for the project – letting them know you are not the authority and that your head rolls if things don’t go well
Never stopping until you get what you want
Give first to the people that you want to ‘get’ from
Explaining the consequences of failure for you, the project and person that you are asking for results from.
Accountability partners and meetings – no matter how goodor self-starting you are….nothingbeats having to explain yourself to someone else.
“I do” is no longer reserved for couples at the altar. It’s also popping up at the office when couples agree to work together in their own businesses. Continue reading
How many times do we have to hear the phrase, “these tough economic times?” If you’re like me, you might be getting a little tired of hearing that phrase in countless conversations or reading it in countless articles. Continue reading