Submitted by Don Doman
Back when I was young and stupid . . . sorry. Let me rephrase that. Back when I was unaware of how human relationships worked and president of a community organization, I told one of my vice presidents that he was doing a bad job. This did not result in the turn-around I had envisioned. Instead, this individual responded by doing an even worse rendering of his duties. Not only that, but he said uncomplimentary things about me and tried to have me impeached. Go figure.
If this had been a work related issue, I would have simply fired him. As it was, he finished out the year, doing much less than I had hoped. I was not impeached and we had a very successful year. However, there was never respect shown from either of us. He never became president of the organization, but did stay a member for a few years more. I know I should have handled it better.
The reality of a volunteer organization is that not everyone has the same amount of time, energy, and talent they can devote. Today I would have simply asked to have coffee together. Then I could ask about his goals, his time constraints, and asked about any issues he might have had in mind. Mostly I would have offered my help to achieve his objectives both in the organization and beyond.
We all learn from experience, but I didn’t learn immediately from this particular experience. That came a few years later. I was elected to a higher position in the state organization and performed in a less than stellar manner. I wanted to do better. I could have done better. However, I ran out of time and energy. Family and work came first. I guess the difference was that I didn’t blame anyone else.
Today I wouldn’t have even fired this individual if he was working for me. I would first chat with him about his goals and his future. If his attitude remained the same, then I would move into counseling. The very last step would be discipline and termination.