It’s a common scenario: a board member from your non profit finishes his or her board service, but still wants to contribute to the organization. The next thing you know, you have a volunteer to manage who was once helping to manage you. This can create an uncomfortable dynamic, but it can be handled successfully.
There should be a balance between treating this new volunteer just as you do the rest of your team, and treating her with the high level of respect you’ve always shown. Hopefully, that’s the same level of respect your other volunteers are already seeing from you.
In most cases, having a former supervisor become a volunteer will work out well. But it doesn’t always go smoothly. Some former board members might feel like they need to keep managing you. Others will try to “improve” everything they get their hands on. Another might think she’s the boss, since she knows so much about the organization. She may not see other volunteers as her peers.
If you start seeing problems, or hearing about them from staff or other volunteers, you’ll need to step in. Instead of confronting the issue in your office, show the former board member your respect for her by inviting her to lunch,. Ask open-ended questions about how they’re enjoying their volunteer duties, and steer the conversation to the establishment of a few rules.
Remember how important it is for you to remain in charge. If one volunteer starts undermining your authority or treating others unfairly, or you could see a decline in morale and increased turnover.