Help Me Learn to Manage Difficult Volunteers
June 6, 2007 1:57 PM Subscribe
I need your book suggestions for managing volunteers or communicating with people. There's plenty out there, but I can't seem to find anything regarding my specific problem: I have really old volunteers, and few younger ones with cognitive problems.
posted by cobaltnine to human relations (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
First off, I should mention that I'm the kind of person who needs to take notes when reading Andrew Carnegie. I'm half-engineer and I got my socialization genes from him. I'm not in the best position to manage volunteers, but if I don't do it, no one will. Basically, though, it comes down to needing books (preferably) or other resources on managing the following types of volunteers:
1. The much older. All books I can find on managing older volunteers are aimed at the '55-65 recently retired' group. Mine are about 80 and of varying levels of mobility - most of them still drive, though, and most of them are still mentally fine. They're social, rather than efficient. Suggestions I find for the elderly are all 'have them knit things,' which isn't useful for a historical society/museum.
2. The cognitively impaired. One of the volunteers has some age-related cognitive problem and is difficult to communicate with. For example, last Saturday, when I wasn't there, she flipped out that I emptied a display case and it was sitting there, empty. The problem is, we emptied it *together* on the Tuesday before. Another volunteer has metal fragments in his brain and shell-shock. He tells increasingly strange, and pointless, lies (like how he knows certain languages.) This wouldn't be a problem except that he interrupts tours with this misinformation and, because he's kind of loud and big, he scares the crap out of the few visitors we have. We've tried just giving him things to do, but he has phobias we can't predict (ladders, the view out one window) and so we don't really know what to do with him.
Thank you in advance for suggestions - I'm managing the first group okay, but the second group is disproportiately causing difficulties reaching my goals (whipping this place into a decent-looking museum --> getting a paying job in a museum elsewhere.)