Why Volunteering Can Develop Your Leadership Skills

I remem­ber 10 years ago when one of my class­mates in col­lege encour­aged me to be part of the stu­dent gov­ern­ment in which I refused because I don’t like to asso­ciate with peo­ple. I’m an intro­vert and I had oth­er impor­tant things to do and I want noth­ing to add up into it.

For so many years, I once believed a lie in which my grade 3 teacher  told me: “You will achieve noth­ing in life.”, then she picked out her stain­less ruler, hit it into my hands until it turns red because I refuse to give my 10 pesos allowance to her in exchange of a snack she pre­pared for the class.

I can still remem­ber how many times my class­mates vot­ed me to become a leader or be a group leader but I refused it because I have been fram­ing my mind the belief of I was not good enough.

But God has a dif­fer­ent plan. It start­ed when I signed up to become a vol­un­teer in the church I am attend­ing. Lit­tle by lit­tle it stretch­es me to become a leader and learned how to work with oth­er vol­un­teers.

After becom­ing a vol­un­teer in the church, I led a small group of young sin­gle pro­fes­sion­als who were old­er than me. I was lead­ing a group of men was around 25 to 35 years old when I was 22 years old! I also vol­un­teered twice in mis­sion trips abroad and some out­reach projects in which stretched my faith, char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship abil­i­ty. Fol­lowed by man­ag­ing a group of vol­un­teers in one of our com­pa­ny cor­po­rate ini­tia­tives.

All I can say is that my life has changed because of vol­un­teer­ing. And let me give you some rea­sons why it can be also ben­e­fi­cial to you.

1. Vol­un­teer­ing allows you to fig­ure out who you are.

I believe each per­son has their own imprint of what they will become. Some peo­ple I know have already dis­cov­ered their own by the time they reached 13. Some took longer just like me.

I vol­un­teered as a com­put­er oper­a­tor in church but lat­er on, I real­ized that I was not only cre­at­ed to oper­ate a com­put­er, hence I tried vol­un­teer­ing in com­mu­ni­ca­tions group since I love writ­ing, but the demand for the min­istry was too low and they nev­er con­tact­ed me. Haha!

Until I signed up to be a teacher in the Kids Min­istry. At first, I was hes­i­tant since I’m an intro­vert! I was afraid if one day they will call me to stand in the front! Well, it hap­pened. I was shak­ing at that moment when they assigned me to become a host! I hat­ed pub­lic speak­ing.

But the more I vol­un­teer to do host­ing the more I became com­fort­able doing it. Then I switch to anoth­er role in which I want myself to learn more.

Lat­er on, I fig­ured out that I love teach­ing. It made me remem­ber my child­hood dream to become a teacher in which I didn’t pur­sue because being a teacher here in the Philip­pine is such a noble task but let’s face that it can­not give you a high pay­ing job.

2. Vol­un­teer­ing builds your lead­er­ship.

Since vol­un­teer­ing requires you to work with peo­ple, it will help you to build your lead­er­ship skills. I men­tioned ear­li­er that I was an inse­cure per­son.

The longer I vol­un­teer, the more J under­stand peo­ple and learn how to work with them.

In my job, I wasn’t allowed to prac­tice or learn a skill in project man­age­ment. And since I can­not do it in my job, I have to find a way to learn it. That’s when I took a project man­ag­er role to han­dle a big event in our com­pa­ny. It was a fright­ful one but it became suc­cess­ful. Now I learned the skill!

Work­ing with peo­ple allows you to learn more about them. Soon you will be lead­ing them and it is impor­tant that you know them per­son­al­ly.

Vol­un­teer­ing allows you to meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple that can help you to achieve your dreams. This is where I learned that lead­ers are not born, they are made.

And last,

3. Vol­un­teer­ing allows you to prac­tice.

Do you want to become a pro­lif­ic writer? a radio host? what about a pub­lic speak­er? Do it for free!

Vol­un­teer­ing is a great place to achieve your dreams. I’ve known per­son­al­i­ties who took their time in vol­un­teer­ing.

It has been my dream to become a moti­va­tion­al speak­er, so I joined Toast­mas­ters Inter­na­tion­al to learn pub­lic speak­ing. At first, I was afraid, but since Toast­mas­ters is a safe envi­ron­ment to exper­i­ment and prac­tice my com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, I gave it a shot!

Each club meet­ing I deliv­er my speech projects and vol­un­teered on cer­tain roles. Until I real­ized, I can now man­age my fear of speak­ing in pub­lic!

Mal­colm Glad­well in his book “The Tip­ping Point”, he men­tioned that it requires 10,000 hours for a per­son to mas­ter a skill. That’s a lot of time! And vol­un­teer­ing is one of the best ways to prac­tice and hone your skills.

Today, I’m a pub­lic speak­er, a teacher, a writer, and a pub­lished author and a vol­un­teer!. And how I could that? All was start­ed by becom­ing a vol­un­teer.

I still have so much to learn as of this moment, hence I will con­tin­ue to vol­un­teer.

Becom­ing a vol­un­teer is a win-win. You learn and can mas­ter a skill and, you help oth­er peo­ple. And vol­un­teer­ing allows you to put all your heart into every­thing you do.

Are you a vol­un­teer already?

Manifestations of Pride

Photo from Flickr by 'Nino" Eugene La Pia

Pho­to from Flickr by ‘Nino” Eugene La Pia

Pride is hav­ing a feel­ing that you are more impor­tant or you think you are bet­ter than oth­ers. Some peo­ple are not aware of them­selves being pride­ful at times because they are busy check­ing oth­ers that they for­get to have them­selves check.

While we are all liv­ing in a fall­en world and all of us are imper­fect, we are all vul­ner­a­ble to pride. I believe one of the first gifts of the Holy Spir­it gave to each per­son who recent­ly sur­ren­dered his or her life to Christ is no oth­er than “peace”. If you can’t find peace, you feel oppressed or your prayers are not answered, search for God’s will but first look for pride. Yes pride, because pride above all blocks mir­a­cles.

There are times I fail to look at it when lead­ing peo­ple. When a per­son has giv­en the author­i­ty to exe­cute, admin­is­ter, and lead peo­ple, I have observed that some lead­ers have the ten­den­cy to fight for uni­for­mi­ty than uni­ty.

I have learned that uni­ty is accept­ing the dif­fer­ences of the peo­ple I am lead­ing in terms of back­ground, beliefs, per­spec­tive and opin­ion, and use them as an advan­tage to work as a team and not enforc­ing what you want for the per­son to do even it is not aligned to his or her val­ues or what he or she wants to do.

Some lead­ers think that if one mem­ber of his team oppos­ing his ideas and goals could be divi­sive. No! It’s an advan­tage for a leader when some­one speaks out his or her mind because it will strike a bal­ance to the team.

Because when you force them to do what you want and threat­ened them — you are enforc­ing your­self to them and not giv­ing them an oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow — that’s uni­for­mi­ty, sac­ri­fic­ing uni­ty for the sake of uni­for­mi­ty is a big No-no for me.

But how can we check for the man­i­fes­ta­tions of pride to our­selves?. Here’s what I have learned so far:

1. Spir­i­tu­al Stress

A per­son can be in a spir­i­tu­al stress if he or she came to the point of com­par­ing his or her min­istry achieve­ments to oth­ers. Don’t get me wrong about here, it is always bet­ter to check our inner motives. Why do we brag this accom­plish­ment to oth­ers? Some­times spir­i­tu­al stress caus­es anx­i­ety because a per­son is seek­ing self- admi­ra­tion and self-glo­ry for the things he did for God that leads to oth­er man­i­fes­ta­tions.

2. Mis­trust

If a leader doesn’t have trust to his or her team mem­bers, he or she will have the ten­den­cy to do all the things that oth­er mem­bers can do bet­ter than him. In this way, the per­son may be seek­ing admi­ra­tion from oth­ers and would like to take cred­it for what he has done.

When you don’t trust oth­ers, you don’t del­e­gate tasks. You are rely­ing on your­self and sim­ply telling God that you don’t need him because you don’t think your mem­bers can do it. Isn’t it God gave you the team to serve with?

3. Hid­den Supe­ri­or­i­ty

Some­times we are unaware of this, hid­den supe­ri­or­i­ty exists when we insist what we want , even oth­ers don’t like it.

When a leader lis­tened to sug­ges­tions from his or her mem­bers yet, he does the exact oppo­site of it because he thinks he is right all the time, not being teach­able is a hid­den supe­ri­or­i­ty.

4. Over ambi­tion

When there is over-ambi­tion, there is com­pe­ti­tion. Com­pe­ti­tion can be healthy but not all the time. I have joined short term mis­sions trip to oth­er nations twice already, I don’t agree when a leader told his or her co-work­ers of com­pet­ing with him in the min­istry. There are no com­pe­ti­tions in the min­istry! All of the mem­bers are work­ing for the advance­ment of the King­dom God in the nations not seek­ing glo­ry for them­selves.

Pride blocks hap­pi­ness destroys uni­ty and can destroy one’s hope. I have learned not to blame Satan or the ene­my when we feel we are being attacked because he wants it, he wants us to think of him, he wants to dis­tract us from our pur­pose. When we are pride­ful, I think it’s bet­ter to ask God to reveal more of it and blame our­selves instead because we hard­ened our hearts.

But there’s good news. The cure for pride is no oth­er than love. Love more, give more and let go of what you’re hold­ing just like what God did for us.

He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to live the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died that gives us eter­nal life when we accept Him as Lord and Sav­ior, He gave every­thing so we could not boast to our­selves that we earn it. It is free.

I would like to leave you with this scrip­ture:

Do noth­ing out of self­ish ambi­tion or vain con­ceit. Rather, in humil­i­ty val­ue oth­ers above your­selves, — Philip­pi­ans 2:3