These are tough times for a lot of people. Some are out of work; those with jobs fear for them;  in business, clients are very demanding and have little tolerance for problems or excuses. In the nonprofit world, you probably are seeing record numbers of clients seeking your agency’s assistance.

It is even more important now that ever for leaders to stay close and tend to their volunteers and employees. These front line people are under incredible stress and each phone call and visitor are opportunities for them to reaffirm your partnership with them…or to lose them because of a poorly handled contact.

Employees and volunteers need a lot more attention these days because they are a real asset for you on the front lines. What are you doing to create conditions that “fill” your employees and volunteers…you are doing something, right?

We used to have occasional, and spontaneous, ice cream parties at work…right in our main Atrium. I wore a huge chef’s hat and apron and spooned out huge scoops of ice cream for everyone as they stood in line in front of me. It was all for fun, and to break up the drudgery of a long and difficult day and reminder to them that I was thinking of them and wanted to express my appreciation for all they were doing.

They loved it.

We also had a special Halloween Party celebration each year, with contests for best costumes and departmental decorations. Our people really got into the spirit and the competition became quite intense.

And, as the leader, you need to participate.  I won the costume contest one year when I dressed as Austin Powers…Personally, I thought my dressing up as an M&M the previous year was better, but there is no accounting for taste. I took a lot of good natured, I think, ribbing from most everyone and showed I was not above self-deprecating humor-always a winner for a leader.

Give it a try. It will go along way with your employees and volunteers and create a sense of community within the organization. Strong community creates strong departments and organizations.

If you’d like to brainstorm some other ideas, call me. Let’s talk.