[Originally posted on Sisarina.com Feb. 7, 2012]
Music has been a guiding force for me since I was a kid. I got the opportunity to be a part of musical theater performances in high school. As a part of the cast, I found a place to belong, a gang to hang with. Since then, I’ve found leadership positions in college radio, local music zines, and a record store.
Now I’m volunteering with Girls Rock! DC — a rock camp for Washington-area girls — and though I joined to donate my time and talents, I have found that after volunteering for a couple of years, I have gotten back as much as I’ve given, especially in the form of leadership experience. I have a few tips I can share, which apply to more than just musical organizations:
- Share the microphone. Leaders aren’t responsible for providing ALL the solutions, but for guiding the team towards one. Don’t shy away from leadership because you don’t know all the answers.
- Audition your band members carefully. Better teams make better leaders. When you have a good group working for you, it’s easier to communicate, to reach goals together, and eventually succeed.
- Write lyrics as a group. Seek solutions from the people you are leading, and help them organize a path to the best solution.
- Enunciate. Especially when you are delegating, be clear with expectations.
- Go wild on stage …to a degree. Leaders take risks, but that doesn’t mean doing things haphazardly. Risks can be taken after looking at the necessary considerations, and then moving forward in an educated manner.
- Now, with feeling! Passion is contagious. Gratitude is rewarding. These tools are free and if they are genuine, they can brighten up a workspace more than changing the wallpaper.
- Practice, practice, practice! Don’t ever stop learning. The world is changing around us. People learn and work in different ways, and effective leaders must be willing to adapt. Keep on your toes. Take a class, or volunteer somewhere like Girls Rock! DC, where you can energize your leadership batteries.
As much as non-profit organizations like Girls Rock! DC can benefit from your time and talents, you can often use your volunteer experience on the job. For instance, I kept my website and design skills sharp at Girls Rock! DC, talents I’ve been able to take back to work with me. Groups like Girls Rock! DC are real résumé-building opportunities.