Volunteer and Grow? Side Effects of Volunteering

Has volunteering made you a better leader?

As I was getting established in my career, going to grad school at night, and becoming a mom, I kept thinking (and saying), “I just don’t have time to volunteer.”

Sure, I would bake the cupcakes or volunteer at church, but certainly nothing that required sustained energy and effort. I thought, “people with more time would surely be better at that than me.”

Looking back now, that sure sounds like an excuse and a mistake.

I regret what I missed in the giving and in the growing that comes from volunteering during that phase of my life. The growing is more fun these days.

I am delighted to have a guest post this week on SmartBlog: Smartbrief on Leadership entitled How Volunteering Makes You a Better Leader.

I hope you will take the time to check it out and leave a comment.

Posted in Career & Learning and tagged , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. I started drinking the volunteer Kool-Aid about 12 years ago. My first event was Special Olympics. Then I moved on to numerous others including our local soup kitchen and community theatre. The one thing that stands out for me is the best leaders are great human beings. They’re all about helping others. Humble is their middle name. At this point in my life, I’m encouraging others to volunteer when they can. You can’t help everyone, you can help someone.

  2. Karin,

    I recently relocated to a new city and was trying to connect with a local charity that I could volunteer at. Last night was my first night!!

    I was bagging sandwiches and helping prepare a soup that will serve 80-200 people this weekend. Then I stuck around and washed dishes and swept the kitchen floor. I met some really great people.

    For me, volunteering re-energizes me with positive energy. It is a cleansing activity that helps me re-center myself around being positive and making a difference. This helps me at work, especially when I am feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. I love being around other people in the community that focus on making positive changes.


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