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Clarifying different roles for staff, leaders and members

Although you have a shared passion and interest for the work, what role you play in a coalition as staff vs. leaders or members is different. In most coalitions, staff are paid and volunteers are unpaid. Even if your coalition leaders or members work aligns very closely with the work of the coalition, their job is not working for the coalition. Once you get clear about the role of your coalition, your next step is to get clear about the different roles and expectations for coalition staff, leaders and members. Join me this week as I recommend three steps to help you clarify and set expectations.


Consider the past 3-5 months. Write down all of the activities you have done. Reflect on the following questions: What roles have staff played in the coalition? What roles have leaders played? What roles have members played? Focus on what people have actually done rather than what they said they would do.


As you reflect on what has been done, does this align with your expectations? For instance, did you expect your coalition leaders to convene a workgroup meeting but the group did not meet? Did you expect your members to read the materials prior to the meeting but no one read them? Did you expect your staff to facilitate the meeting but your leaders were the ones who facilitated? When you can compare what you expected with what actually happened, you will be able to better understand realistic roles for each group.


Discuss what you discover with your staff, leaders and members. Ask for feedback on what is realistic for each group. Listen closely. Understand what roles are most important for each group. Develop realistic (and possibly revised) roles. Even though you may have expected your coalition leaders to convene meetings, this may need to be a staff role. Alternatively, your coalition leaders may want to contribute to developing the agenda, help with facilitating the meeting or recruiting new members.

So what about you? What is your first step toward clarifying roles for your staff, leaders and members?

If you would like additional guidance on clarifying different roles for staff, leaders and members, download my new free worksheet, Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities.

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

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