The very word conjures up images of old war movies – silhouetted black and white figures blowing up railway lines in the midst of the night to prevent enemy advance. Indeed, sabotage is in fact a very real tool of war. Sadly it has also been a tool of some corporations who have used the technique to delay competitor success, while some individuals also deliberately sabotage the lives of their colleagues, families and even themselves in some bizarre notion of personal victory.
Sabotage is also at work within the volunteering sector. It is not too difficult to find volunteer administrators who, through poor work practices or a lack of a true understanding of their role, are unwittingly sabotaging their own volunteer programs. This results in a weakening of the value of volunteering in the eyes of their line managers, program volunteers, and the general public, as well as an undermining of the whole profession.
Martin Cowling warns us to be aware of the five 'lethal factors' of sabotage that can easily sneak into our management practices, describes how to confront them, and suggests how to deal with each in a decisive manner.