Sharing Leadership Responsibility
Grass roots organizations have unique characteristics and needs. This is especially true in the area of leadership. Many corporations operate on a hierarchal basis, but at the grassroots level, decisions where everyone participates are much more likely to be implemented successfully. Each member of the group brings their unique talents to the table and each volunteer needs to feel ownership of the decision-making process. This requires a much flatter organizational hierarchy.
Each year some 300 volunteers bring their talents to TEAM Punta Gorda's 20 committees. We've had a great year with many accomplishments. Volunteers painted houses, organized community events, and tackled complex issues such as examining workforce housing needs. In order to sustain the leadership needed to oversee our growth, the TEAM Punta Gorda Board is rolling out a new plan for sharing leadership. The key positions in TEAM Punta Gorda (CEO, COO and CFO) will operate with a three-year leadership ladder. Each of these officers will have an assistant to share the work load and to succeed them. This will provide two people in each position to back each other up. We are also adding an office administrator for support. This year we plan to reduce our activity over the summer months. When many of our volunteers head North, we will take a break.
We'd like encourage new and old volunteers to serve in leadership roles. Why do this, you might ask? There is an enormous sense of satisfaction in making a difference in the town where you live. It's one way to have a voice in the community. There is the opportunity to be part of a high spirited group of very talented people. It is also a great deal of fun.
All of the processes and procedures needed for day-to-day operations are already in place. There is excellent support from the strongest board TEAM has ever had. Many of our experienced committee chairs are already in place to manage current and future projects. If this sounds interesting to you, let us know. Co-chairing a committee is a great place to start. We will be glad find a place for you. The most creative ideas for community projects come from our volunteers.
The community garden project at the Punta Gorda History Park is a fine example of shared leadership. TEAM Punta gorda volunteers built the garden with funding from Mosaic and TEAM is responsible for the project for two years. The management team that is emerging is composed of the gardeners who have plots. This group of local gardeners is showing they have the right stuff to manage the community garden activities. They share the leadership of this project under the watchful eye of the Punta Gorda Historical Society and the City of Punta Gorda. We are very proud of the work they are doing and have confidence in their emerging leadership. We see this as a great example of how complex projects can be managed by a group of people, thus spreading both the burdens and benefits. TEAM Punta Gorda really does have the best volunteers!