It happens in every group. One of your key volunteers, probably a great person, just isn’t very organized. How do you make sure her responsibilities get done without creating all kinds of drama and bad blood? It’s tricky, but it’s possible.
My first point is that it is OK (and even part of your leadership job) to think about issues like this. Your best defense is to guide folks into jobs that fit their skills and gifts. Deadline-phobic Mary may be a bad choice to chair your auction, but she might be perfect for recruiting new volunteers or running the teacher appreciation committee. It’s also a great idea to team the organizationally challenged with a more buttoned-up volunteer as cochairs.
If you find yourself with a solo chairperson who is dropping balls, then you do need to take some action. The best tactic is to find a willing volunteer with complementary skills and bring her onto the team. You don’t have to force the new volunteer into a cochair role or depose the current leader (the credit doesn’t matter, and the drama isn’t worth it), but you do want to subtly find ways to add the skills that are missing to the event you need completed.
For too many groups, the struggling leader means weeks or months of behind-the-scenes griping and then a disappointing final result. Leaders step in — nicely, when they can — to help find solutions before it’s too late.