Group classification is a part of life. Whether classified by age, grade, sex, or personality, sorting people into groups naturally occurs. The military community boasts many organizations staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Leading a group of volunteers comes with its own set of challenges. Including determining how to best utilize the time, effort, and skills of each volunteer. Being part of the military has its perks. Not the least of which is an incredibly diverse population that bring a broad array of skills to the table. Below is a list of 5 common types of military spouse volunteers and tips on how, if your group is lucky enough to have one, to get the most out of their skills.
- The Quiet One
Can we say quietly observant introvert? It can be challenging to find out what this person really wants to do or contribute. Maybe they prefer to be behind the scenes doing office work or helping in the kitchen. What if they want to handle the children for meetings? Insert point blank question to them about what they see themselves doing during their volunteer time. Their answers may come as a surprise.
- The Know-it-All
With a ready story for everything, the Know-it-All is a been there, done that sort of person. This can be overwhelming for anyone, especially someone leading and attempting to balance a group. However, this type of person has invaluable experience and knowledge from which to draw and benefit. Finding just the right job will be the key. Many of these spouses shine as mentors to newer spouses or in front of an audience teaching classes. That will allow them to use their stories and feel heard while not overwhelming the leader or the group.
- The Social Butterfly
“You’ve met my friend so and so, right?” or “I know them”. Everyone knows of someone like this and may have a love-hate relationship with them. However, this person is a huge asset to any team. By using their “gift of gab”, a leader can help spread the word about an organization and what it does. Public relations, vendor events or social media could be great ways to let this type of spouse run free while still reaping the benefits of their skill set.
- The Craft Lover
Think MacGyver of all things crafty. Pinterest is their best friend and they may own stock in Hobby Lobby. Every team needs someone like this. Creativity flows in their veins and the group leader must be the one to channel it into projects and responsibilities that work for their particular organization. Provide an explanation of the desired end product, the supplies if possible, and then let them to do what they do best.
- The Busy Busy Busy One
Sit still and relax are not words they understand. They are always moving and shaking. Since utilizing this person may seem like a challenge due to their busy life, this one needs the leader to think outside the box. If they are volunteering with a particular organization then it is important. As the leader it is your job to ensure they know their time is valued and appreciated. Once again, asking point blank how they want to help out may work best here. By doing so indicates understanding of how they value time and appreciation for their willingness to donate it.
This is just a small sample of the unique and diverse population of spouses in our military community. All groups within the military are special and made more so by the dedicated military spouses who volunteer their time.