MANAGEMENT 101: Motivating Volunteer EMTs
Congratulations on your leadership position as a manager of an emergency response organization! What a huge honor, and even more huge responsibility. Like cutting the grass or cleaning the house, a manager’s tasks never end, and just like weeds and dust, emails and voicemails cannot be neglected. Because of the never-ending managerial tasks, your best asset, by far, should be your fellow EMTs. Good team management allows you to confidently delegate your tasks to competent assignees.
Now, if you wanted the management position because of status, you may not be prepared to accept that the organization’s needs come first. Think long and hard before accepting the position. Keep in mind, great technical EMT skills do not automatically guarantee good management skills. Those skills are acquired through training programs, and include motivating, delegating, communicating, rewarding, self-security and self-discipline.
Involvement is much different today than it was even 10 or 15 years ago. You may remember the days when a manager told you “It’s my way or the highway”. But, with mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing, and downsizing, mutual loyalty and longevity are a thing of the past. And so is that highway. Because of this culture shift, it is so important for you, as a manager, to find ways to retain and motivate your current members. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy, and it is crucial that you tap into what fuels individual members. With the suggestions laid out below, you can create a plan that will help you be respected, be supported, and more importantly, be a successful manager of a great EMS organization.
Remember, as a manager, you must genuinely value your EMTs and you should feel confident in delegating your tasks to your membership. Fostering a strong community allows you to do this, and ultimately, leads to a better and more successful volunteer organization. The stronger the community, the more lives we can save.
Check back next week for the second installment of Management 101: "Being a Good Leader"