A big part of leadership is understanding the difference between brand loyalty and service. "I love that idea." "I love what you all do." "I love the impact you're making."
We have to be careful to recognize that love does equal service. And this might be our biggest challenge in the digital age. People can easily love something with no actual support of anything, at least not doing anything to make a difference. There is a new word for these folks, "Slacktivist." The average organization or team simply doesn't have the numbers to actually cause a stir through slacktivist, check out this inforgraphic from the kind folks at sortable.com.
In order to lead well we have to read between lines with people who say they "love" a cause and those who actually want to serve. But we can't ignore slacktivist! How do we identify people who actually want to serve?
1. Personally impacted - People affected by the cause are more likely to serve. Their experience can be a training enhancement. Once they discover the why's behind what they experienced they can become powerful change agents.
2. Life change - Some people are sick and tired of being sick and tired. This is my own personal story with debt. I eventually ran out of patience with feeling like my financial success was in someone else's hands. As I started to listen to Dave Ramsey I was hearing the way I wanted life to be financially. This is an opportunity to harness as leaders and to be looking for in potential volunteers. People can reach a place where they want to stop thinking only about themselves and begin to want to serve.
3. Gone hunting - I've found that people who are looking to get involved stick around. I know this seems like a no brainer but sometimes leaders fail to follow up with those who want to be found when great people are hunting for opportunities to serve. If someone reaches out to you across a social media channel or email make sure you follow up!
I really like working with motivated people who are eager to serve. Fans are great but if we try to rely on them the mission they love will eventually fall short because no one is working. This might change but for now leaders need to distinguish between potential laborers and not just fans.
Do you think I'm missing anything? Is there anything else you would add to this list? Do you have any suggestions how to identify possible servants instead of slacktivist? Please leave a comment below!