July 5, 2013

Have You Been Voluntold?

Voluntold, it's a funny word. 

A combination of volunteer and told, to do something. 

I couldn't believe that this word is actually in the dictionary and means:

"When one has been volunteered for something by another person. Often against their wishes and desires." (Reference: Unwords

"The exact opposite of volunteering. Always used in reference to an unpleasant task to which you have been assigned by your boss."(Reference: Urban Dictionary)

I've seen this used when the boss asks for volunteers for a task or special project. If no one volunteers, then the boss volunteers someone--telling them to do it.  They have been voluntold!

One time, I remember a very tense meeting where a boss was presenting his vision for the organization, but at the same time putting down the status quo and everyone in it. 

As one point, he asks for a volunteer to help with driving his vision forward (note: no one had bought into it), and no one volunteers. 

The boss ask for a volunteer once, twice, and three times at the meeting as the tension rises. 

Finally, a hand goes up and someone accepts the task. 

He is the bosses new favorite and is told publicly at the meeting that he will be rewarded for "stepping up."

The truth is he didn't really step up, but rather succumbed to the pressure to do it. 

Another victim of being voluntold. 

In the end, he really didn't perform much of what he volunteered for--not a surprise, since he never bought into it to begin with. 

Sometimes, we do have to ask people to do things, but it shouldn't be by force or undue pressure. 

A leader builds his vision with his team--not for his team--and they move forward together to achieve their unified goals and objectives. 

Telling someone to do something, and pretending that they are really volunteering fools no one and achieves nothing accept maybe calling out some pretend accomplishments to go with the pretend volunteers. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Andrew Huff)

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