5 Ways to Earn the Respect of Your Volunteers

volunteer screening, background check, volunteer credit checkWhether you’ve been in volunteer management for decades, or are starting a new position, you are always in the position of needing to earn the respect of your volunteers.

Here are five ways to do it, no matter what type of personalities you come up against:

  1. Present a professional appearance. Everyone judges a book by its cover—fair or not, it’s human nature. Put your best possible self forward by dressing well, having good manners and using appropriate language. If you need a refresher, take an etiquette course for business people.
  2. Embrace constructive criticism. Nobody likes to be criticized, but most of us have room for improvement. When a volunteer makes a suggestion or even criticizes your actions, take a moment before you react. Hear what they’re saying, and turn it into a positive action.
  3. Don’t be self-denigrating. Have some love and respect for yourself! Start by taking good care of your health. Get enough exercise and sleep. Avoid belittling comments about anyone, but especially yourself.
  4. Do your job well. When volunteers see you are competent, your respect level will zoom. No matter what age or how many years of experience you have, you can establish yourself as the best at what you do. It may not happen overnight, but doing a good job is always worthy of respect.
  5. Respect your volunteers. The old saying goes, “you get what you give.” And it’s true: if you don’t respect your volunteers, they will feel it, and will likely react in kind. It’s never too late to make a new effort, with every volunteer—new or old—even if your history with a particular person is less than pleasant.

Following these tips can help you establish yourself as a professional, competent and respectable volunteer leader. Your relationships, performance and effectiveness can be improved when you are well-respected by your volunteers.


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