Summary: Your personal experiences as a volunteer - both good and bad - can be used to shape you as a leader today.

Luke 6:31 says “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”

I was a volunteer for years before becoming a leader of volunteers. My experiences as a volunteer influenced how I lead volunteers. As a volunteer, I had positive experiences and less positive experiences. I had leaders who cared deeply for me as a person. Yet, I had leaders who blew me off and did not know me as a person. Our interactions were polite but only transactional. Our relationship was based on what I did for them and not who I was to them. Those latter experiences hurt.

Then I found myself as the leader. I now had a chance to treat volunteers the way I wished I had been treated. Those formerly painful memories became fuel. I got to retroactively right someone else’s leadership wrongs. I felt empowered and was filled with direction.

Has someone ever led you in a way that hurt you? I imagine yes. Has a leader ever made you feel like a widget and not a worthy co-laborer? Sadly, we have all felt used. Can you leverage the wrongs of others? Yes, you can. Can the ways others have poorly lead or are poorly leading you right now influence how you lead others today? Absolutely. Let the pains of the past be fuel for today.