Being a Leader is Hard

It is hard to be a volunteer leader. We don’t talk enough about the challenges of volunteer leadership positions.

Blog after blog tells you how to be a good leader, how to use your leadership to mentor and inspire others, even how to dress like a leader. No one talks about how hard it is to fulfill that position. As a person who holds leadership roles in the community, I have to say it is not all accolades and rainbows.

There is guilt, sleepless nights, second guesses, burn out, and on it goes.

Did I remember to thank all the sponsors? Did I miss something on the agenda? I’m dreading that conversation. Do we have to have another meeting about this? How do we capitalize on that opportunity? I really need to update that on our website. Did I post enough on social media? Succession planning! What projects can I ask someone to help me with? What projects should I ask someone to help me with? Did I give everyone enough time to share their input? Did I give too much of my opinion? Do all the volunteers feel appreciated? I need to check on that committee. How can I convey how important this is? How do I tap into that person’s potential? I should be working on other things. I really don’t want to make that decision. How do we get in that door? Am I doing enough?

Then, after all that whining to myself, I put on my big girl pants and I remind myself it is NOT about me. It is about the mission and what is best for the organization. Sometimes that means having tough conversations, making big decisions, and sacrificing a Saturday night to catch up on emails.

Give your time and talents freely. Sometimes this means saying no to other opportunities so you’re not stretching yourself too thin. Being a leader means you will have difficult days, but it also means that responsibility affords you an opportunity to make a difference in the community. When you commit to a volunteer leadership position, commit all the way.

For more details about how to support your volunteer leaders, please contact Ivy Schneider, President of Helix Strategies, LLC at and visit for information about raising funds and developing your boards and leaders.