Avoiding Biggest Volunteer Mistakes: Negative Encounters
With so many people working together in a new environment, it’s easy for conflicts of interest to arise. When people are at odds, it’s difficult to stay positive and work together. Negative encounters can cause unnecessary stress and make you regret going on the volunteer trip in the first place–and we don’t want that.
Good thing negative encounters can be prevented.
Conflicts of interest and unethical behavior can be avoided by adhering to a volunteer code of conduct. Ask your volunteer organization if they have a set of guidelines to help you navigate potentially negative circumstances. On that note…
Here’s some of our best advice to combat any negative situation:
On your volunteer trip, you may find yourself working with people you’re not very familiar with. This can cause conflicts of interest. If this occurs, it’s important to stay positive. Do your best to understand the other person’s point of view. You’ll be amazed how things smooth over by practicing positivity.
As John Maxwell said, “teamwork makes the dream work.” If your fellow team members aren’t working together, plans can go awry or someone could get hurt. If you’re having difficulty getting along with someone on your team, be patient. Remember why you’re volunteering in the first place. It will help you refocus and reignite your passion for the purpose at hand.
Maybe you get stuck doing something of little interest to you. Maybe an unforeseen mishap throws off your trip schedule–that’s OK! Staying flexible will ease tension and help you enjoy your time, no matter where you end up or how you contribute.
Staying positive, working as a team, and exercising flexibility are some of the best ways to avoid negative encounters during a volunteer trip. We also have advice on avoiding three other common mistakes volunteers experience: Cultural Misunderstandings, Miscommunication, and Health and Safety Risks.