Volunteers look to adapt leadership styles to enhance committee involvement

PEO continues to provide cutting-edge insight and strategies to committee leaders looking to make best possible use of volunteer resources.

The latest example took place at the annual Committee Chairs Workshop on November 3, 2017 at PEO headquarters. The workshop, organized by PEO’s Advisory Committee on Volunteers (ACV), focused on challenges and resolutions for more effective volunteer management.

An organization highly dependent on its team of about 1000 volunteers, PEO is always looking to enhance the volunteer experience and, in turn, develop leadership potential.

Key presenter for the day-long workshop was Gregg Brown, a Toronto-based authority on organizational behaviour and change management, and author of the niche market book Ready Set Change…Again!.

Key to Brown’s presentation was advice about motivating potential volunteers and optimizing their behavioural tendencies to effect smooth-operating and efficient committee work.

Brown outlined his DISC® model of organizational behaviour, which essentially breaks down committee volunteers into four basic styles: dominance, influence, conscientiousness and steadiness.

“This model isn’t about pigeonholing people, but rather helps adapt your organization’s leaders to better manage volunteers’ commitment,” Brown said.

He later led participants through small group exercises to determine their own leadership styles and discussed how differing management styles can work together as a committee to achieve optimal results. Brown also emphasized that volunteers don’t need additional motivation to do their roles. “Volunteers generally come to the task already motivated,” he said. “What makes for a better-quality experience is when you can create the right environment in your committee to get input from all participants, not just the dominant or assertive types.”

At the start of the day, PEO President Bob Dony, PhD, P.Eng., FEC, who took part in the full slate of activities, described the importance of volunteer recognition and leadership development to the engineering regulator. “As you all know, PEO as an organization cannot function without our committee volunteers,” Dony said. “The volunteer base is a vital part of who we are and how we regulate the profession on behalf of the people of Ontario. I’m looking forward to working on these topics, participating, and hopefully we will come out stronger at the end of the day and will be able to do our job better.”

In addition to Dony, 12 members of PEO Council attended the proceedings, as did two former presidents and Registrar Gerard McDonald, P.Eng. Sean McCann, P.Eng., vice chair of the ACV, was emcee for the event.

The ACV compiles information presented at each Committee Chairs Workshop to prepare the agenda for the following year’s event. Current priorities for the ACV include: enhancement of volunteer training programs; recognition programs for volunteer service; effective protocols for ACV’s interactions with council, the registrar and other committees/task forces; and improved communication among the ACV, all volunteers and PEO members.