No one would argue with the concept of higher member involvement leading to positive impact and growth.
However, deciding how to achieve that most efficiently is what draws a line in the sand for some associations. While there are many strategies to grow as an association, the most overlooked catalyst to success is empowering association members to take on more leadership roles.
So, what is the best way to approach this without being discouraged by the generalities? Instead of starting with a solution brainstorm where you're likely to get tangled up in details, begin with the goals and benefits your association should be aiming for. While every association is different, here are 3 key benefits that highlight why you should be empowering your members to lead more.
1. Allow More Opportunities for Success
Creating new, diverse leadership roles is a domino effect that leads to more chances for advancement. It allows you to learn from empowered member opinions and motivates them by communicating that each and every one of them can have an active, valuable role in reaching the association's goals.
2. Uncover Hidden Talents and Interests
Whether it’s an opportunity to lead volunteers at an event or head a new committee, giving members more chances to lead diversifies the playing field and gives you access to hidden perspectives. It's important to remember that not everyone is great at broadcasting their talents - sometimes members need to be given clear leadership opportunities to understand that you value their abilities and want to learn more about what they bring to the table.
3. Encourage Change
Associations are infamous for getting stuck in slow motion and resisting new methods and technology. Encouraging members (especially new ones) to step up and lead will increase activity and collaboration within the association. By communicating that you value them not only as members, but leaders, creating a culture of change and innovation will be a smoother process.
Change boils down to taking specific steps to broaden leadership in healthy ways that work for your structure. It is a delicate balance of practicality, opportunism, and attitude, leading to benefits for you, your members, and the overal health of the association.