One of the greatest obstacles that individuals who try to be effective often confront is the “burnout” factor. They often put in so much dedication and energy to get accomplished what they believe is necessary for their organization, that they often end up getting frustrated by their inability to motivate others to either understand their vision, or to act on it.
Volunteer organizations contend with many of life’s “obstructions” for potential leader’s attention. Since people are volunteers, they cannot be forced to devote a certain amount of time and energy, even if that is what might actually be necessary. Leaders cannot “force” others to work as hard or as effectively as they do, nor should leaders be disappointed when other people “disappoint” them. Often, I have observed someone in a leadership position say that he or she believes that a leader must delegate duties and responsibilities to others in the organization, and then let them do the job.
However, like most other realities, delegation of duties and responsibilities without realistic expectations, and even more importantly, timely, reviewable reporting and accountability, generally end up with little constructive being accomplished in a timely manner. I have observed in my three plus decades in this field that delegation is more often done to avoid taking action than as a productivity booster. Since most organizations do not adequately fully train leaders at a variety of different levels, on a recurrent basis, it is not in the least surprising that often delegation fails.
Leaders must make themselves accountable and be held accountable. If a leader does something, he must always dedicate himself to do his best. Leaders must care, not to please others, because that is often either impossible or irrelevant, or both, but for self-satisfaction. A leader must take pride in his vision and his efforts.
There is no magic panacea for assuring that a leader can get others to feel the way he does. However, leaders should realize that they can only truly be responsible for their own actions, while attempting to best motivate others to do more. Leaders must realize that every individual is different, and others do not necessarily view things as they do.
Too many leaders try to please others, and that is often a formula for disaster. If a leader decides to do his best, and understands that’s all anyone can ever do, he can avoid that natural disappointment and disillusionment. Organizations should teach this to its leaders, because former leaders could potentially be a fabulous resource for future leaders, but not if past leaders feel “burned out”
By Andrew Clapton