Summary: Some people, at best, are not a good fit. At worst, they could be dangerous to your mission. You need a plan to navigate this leadership challenge, but more importantly, to prevent this situation from happening.

Sometimes a volunteer might be lacking one of these four key ingredients: character, chemistry, competence or circumstances. What do you do? It may be crystal clear that a change needs to be made. But bringing this up to a volunteer and telling them that a change needs to be made can be dicey conversation. It’s risky to open that can of worms with a volunteer. I get some nervous butterflies just talking about it. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a serious leadership challenge.

Honestly, having hard conversations with volunteers used to be a horrible thing for me to contemplate. Conversations like this are filled with landmines waiting to blow up in your face. But the reality still exists: some people, at best, are not a good fit; at worst, are dangerous to the mission. You know what needs to happen but you chose the dangerous path of avoidance.

How does someone release or move a volunteer and not lose your job? Bottom Line: you need a plan to navigate and hopefully preemptively prevent this situation altogether. Personally, I like to view myself as a soccer coach. If one of my players has a royally messed up ankle, I should never put them back into the game, regardless of how “good” they are.

Remember, we need a strong “yes” in four areas: character, chemistry, competence and circumstances. If one of these is missing, a player may need to gain some direction on the sidelines from their loving coach. Would you put a player in the game with a swollen ankle? Would you put them in if they were fighting badly with other players? Would you put them in the game if they were utterly inept at a particular skill position? Or would you allow them to exhaust themselves in the game when their off-field life is a circumstantial train wreck? Think about it.
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