People First HR Services

Don’t try to direct volunteers, let their efforts find best path

Colleen Coates

During the holiday season, many non-profit organizations and even understaffed companies make use of volunteers to stretch their resources. Whether it is because they want to give back to their community or because of the realities of the job market, more highly skilled workers are available and eager to lend a helping hand.

The idea of co-ordinating volunteers, including student interns and committees, can be an organizational nightmare for some people — one that brings the simplicity of herding cats to mind. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Managing volunteers isn’t about directing people as much as it is about allowing their efforts to find the best path.

Managing and leading are not the same things

Colleen Coates

The terms “management” and “leadership” are often used interchangeably in the working world. But while they have both come to represent the person in charge of leading a group of people, the reality is that these two terms are as different in meaning as they are in approach.

According to Steve Pilote, senior consultant, leadership development at People First, the characteristics of leadership include charisma (enthusiasm, optimism and the ability to motivate and inspire), focused vision (being innovative and results-driven), participatory nature (fostering teamwork and collaboration), and emotional intelligence (ability to identify, assess, control and effectively utilize the knowledge of emotions of oneself and others).

Medical ‘mayor’ HSC COO aids staff in putting patients first

John McFerran

By definition, the campus of the Health Sciences Centre is a city unto itself, with nearly 15,000 people working, visiting or staying there as a patient on any given day. That makes chief operating officer Adam Topp the “mayor” of Manitoba’s largest hospital.

“I work for the 7,000 people who work here,” says Topp, who is also COO of Grace Hospital and oversees regional programs such as diagnostic imaging, child health, clinical engineering, respiratory therapy and transport for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.