I love C.H. Spurgeon’s quote: The day we find the perfect church, it becomes imperfect the moment we join it. Humans are an imperfect—and difficult—lot. (I should know, I am one!)
Whether we are an employer or employee, pastor or volunteer, parent or child, learning to work with people will challenge and develop our character. Some personalities are easy to get along with and others, well, they challenge us. When we work with teams of people, this growth potential is multiplied!
In my life, I have been repeatedly challenged in three areas when it comes to working with people. See if you can relate:
Developing healthy communication. This sounds easy, but of course, we all know it’s not. People are different. They communicate in different ways. We need to learn to listen, watch, and respond without defense or offense. This starts with us being willing to be open, honest, and real with our people.
Forming stronger relationships. Placing a priority on actually connecting with people and being a friend will reap huge dividends. This is huge in keeping strife out of your team.
Confronting issues when necessary. I still struggle with knowing when to confront and when to overlook something. I think many of us do. It takes prayer and patience to know the difference. While it may be uncomfortable at times, we can learn to confront in a loving and gracious way.
Which of these is the greatest struggle for you…and why? Share your thoughts!
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Good points, Sue! I’m convinced that a large part of team friction is due to communication issues. Part of the teaching I do with individuals and with teams focuses on identifying behavioral styles. Most people are most interested in learning about their own, which is necessary, of course. However, to learn about the other behavioral styles is equally important. I make it a point to try and learn the behavioral styles of the people I work with regularly so that I can make every effort to communicate in accordance with their style, rather than insisting on using my own.
Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Leaders” identifies this as an essential habit: “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Keeping that in mind is immensely helpful to my communication efforts!