What makes someone a great leader?
Daniel Goleman, in his book, “What makes a leader?” introduced the word ‘emotional intelligence’ and argued that a high degree of emotional intelligence distinguishes the truly effective leaders. The chief components of emotional intelligence include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Dedication towards your organization is not the only thing that transforms you into a great leader. It is about how you lead and create a positive impact on business, people, and society. However, companies struggle to develop leaders merely because they don’t have enough authentic experiences to provide.
One of the most potent ways for younger managers to understand and experience the type of leadership needed for the C-Suite is to do volunteer work early in their careers. They need to realize that leadership is not about carrots and sticks but about persuasion and getting people to grasp and follow your vision.
Abhishek Humbad, Founder of Goodera shares, “Volunteering helps leaders develop empathy, making them sensitive and aware of the thoughts and feelings of their fellow colleagues. Soft skills such as positivity, authenticity & confidence are critical skills to build trust and volunteering offers the chance for leaders to hone these skills and make a positive difference in the larger community.”
Goodera partnered with People Matters in ‘Are you in the list-2018’ in assessing the emerging leaders. One of the rounds in assessing these candidates were introducing volunteering for the social cause they support. Humbad shares, “While picking the best-of-the- best from these highly qualified applicants, it was imperative that as a human resource manager one must have experience in employee volunteering for holistic and inclusive leadership. Developing an employee volunteering program not only develops softer skills which are essential for people management but also functions as a very rewarding employee engagement, team and work and employee motivation tool.”
Here are the top reasons why you should introduce employee volunteering as a part of your leadership development:
Realizing the importance of purpose:
Steve Jobs was once quoted saying, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me.” A person with a sense of purpose makes a great impact. Employee volunteering enables individuals to work for a greater purpose. It makes them feel more connected to the community and their company-wide social responsibility efforts.
Connecting with the bigger picture:
While volunteering for the societal causes, employees are reminded of the values and this helps them reflect on the things that are most important to them. Volunteering can help in building more empathetic future leaders and encourages team members to engage their hearts, not just their minds, in their work. It also helps team members see the bigger picture, to realize that their work can have an impact far beyond any single project.
Becoming great mentors:
As volunteers, employees offer support, guidance, skills and their time to the community and society they are serving. It gives them an opportunity to step up and share their ideas and advice to solve real challenges of the society. This gives them enough confidence to mentor their subordinates and peers.
Volunteering encourages individuals to work with other stakeholders and helps in building partnerships between those who may not normally work together. It helps bridge communication gaps and forces employees to break through barriers to find solutions together. Which enable them to collaborate with their team and lead the team in a better way.
According to Deloitte Impact Survey, 92 percent of respondents agree that volunteering is an effective way to improve leadership skills. Employee volunteering enables individuals to get aware of themselves and their surroundings, empathize, and manage themselves and their relationship with others. All these skills directly or indirectly contribute to enhancing the individuals’ emotional intelligence- a key to become an effective leader.