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No. 9 - Listen To Their Ideas
When you finally reached the dizzy heights of managing a project, the first thing that happens - if you're like me, anyway - is you get ideas-crazy. You have spent years having ideas that you never got to actually do because your co-ordinator didn't listen to you and let you run with things. Now though, you actually get to give life to your ideas and make them happen. It's actually a lovely feeling, and it's more than okay to have tonnes of ideas. Just make sure that you don't do what your co-ordinators did to you and ignore the ideas of those beneath you.
When you have ideas, take them to your volunteers and ask them what they think. Be prepared to respond generously to what they say. Let them know too that they are allowed to have ideas. And if they have good ones, don't be afraid to run with them. Leadership, after all, isn't about having the best ideas; it's about knowing who does. If your volunteers know that their ideas will be listened to and taken seriously then they will feel affirmed, valued and liked. They will take the project to heart in a bigger way and invest more of themselves in it.
Some of the very best projects I've seen have been those where team members get round a table and thrash out great ideas together. They all contribute and they all work together to make the ideas stronger and better. You just can't do that by being dictatorial. Conversely, some of the worst projects I've seen have been those where the co-ordinator just sets an agenda and dictates. It's not cool!