Divas, Donalds, and Drama Queens (or Kings)

Report
Handling Difficult
Volunteers
Divas, Donalds, and Drama Queens (or Kings)
Marjorie Trachtman
VANNW Conference
June 25, 2013
volunteers
Success = Right Person + Right Skills
You’re In The Driver’s Seat
When it comes to bad behavior, you have
the power to:
• Prevent or encourage
• Escalate or diffuse
• Help or hurt morale
• Cause stress or relieve it
Myth-conceptions
• Ignore the problem and it will go away
• No one else notices but me
• I can fix the person
• I need to focus on the “good” inside
• Confrontation will only make things worse
• If I confront them they’ll leave and the program will
suffer
• If I was a good person I’d be able to deal with the
person
• If I push them out they’ll be mad at me
–From Sue Vineyard, New Competencies for Volunteer Administrators
• If I push them out they’ll bad-mouth the program
• Volunteers are “customers”
What Causes Problem Behavior?
• Unclear task definition/policies
• Lack of supervision
• Personality clash
• Fear/insecurity
• Wrong skill set for the job
• Poor organizational fit
“I don’t like to be difficult, but
it’s the only thing I’m really good at!”
Dysfunction Escalation Pyramid
Alarming!
Disruptive
Annoying
Avoidance Is Natural But Has Serious
Consequences
Assessing The Situation
• What’s the worst that could happen if I address
the situation, and if I don’t?
• What am I afraid of?
• Will this person listen?
• What’s their motivation?
• Do they have a valid point: Is there something
I’m overlooking?
• How well have I communicated roles and
responsibilities?
• What’s the best outcome or path forward?
Betty has been a volunteer for 15 years since the
organization got started. She considers herself to be
the resident historian and process expert. The new ED
is updating office processes and procedures and Betty
has not come onboard. She is argumentative and
uncooperative, criticizing the ED and insisting on
doing things the way she’s used to.
1. What’s the worst that could
happen if I address the situation,
and if I don’t?
2. What am I afraid of?
3. Will this person listen?
4. What’s their motivation?
Despite red flags during the intake process, you gave
John the benefit of the doubt and brought him onboard
because you were desperate to fill an open position.
Now he repeatedly oversteps his authority and puts
himself in situations that open the organization to risk.
He argues over every policy and does not comply
when he thinks he can get away with it. When
confronted he makes excuses and gets
overemotional. Staff have repeatedly come to you with
concerns about his conduct.
5. Do they have a valid point: Is
there something I’m overlooking?
6. How well have I communicated
roles and responsibilities?
7. What’s the best outcome or path
forward?
Management Escalation Pyramid
Alarming
Disruptive
Annoying
Termination
Conflict management
Performance improvement
plan
Review job description
Review policies
Performance coaching
Motivational feedback
Consider Your “Re” Options
• Review/Reorient/Reinforce: Go over policies, rules,
•
•
•
•
•
•
expectations
Retrain: Make sure they know the task and have the
necessary skills
Reassign: See if they do better with a different
assignment
Rest: Give them time away to recharge
Refer: Suggest another organization where you think
they’d be a better fit
Retire: Offer them a gracious way to step aside and move
on
Remove: Dismiss them from service
Having The Difficult Discussion
• Prepare the environment
• Be clear and direct about the problem
• Focus on:
o the behavior
o the impact/consequences
o the alternative(s)
o the follow-up plan
• Stay calm and detached
• Know the outcome you seek
• If it helps, rehearse with a colleague
• Follow up in writing
Prevention Is The Best Strategy
• Look for red flags during screening
• Clearly communicate your organization’s culture
•
•
•
•
and expectations from the start
Have clear policies and procedures - including
disciplinary procedures - and follow them
consistently
Develop clearly defined job descriptions
Maintain open channels of communication
Document, document, document!
Always remember who’s in charge!
Handling Difficult
Volunteers
Divas, Donalds, and Drama Queens (or Kings)
Marjorie Trachtman
VANNW Conference
June 25, 2013

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