I was walking through a major chain store the day after Christmas to find some deals on Christmas cards—which we’ll provide to our volunteers next December as a way to show care to our youth.
As I was walking through the store some of the employees’ actions were less than ideal. I overheard one muttering a few cuss words. Another stormed away from a customer—visibly upset, as was the customer from which he was retreating. And one hurried employee about knocked me over in his haste to get somewhere.
Now I understand it’s a stressful season for retail employees, so I wasn’t too surprised. But what really stood out to me was the contrast between this store and the next one I entered. There, the first employee I saw was whistling a Christmas song with a big smile on her face. Another one walked by with a full cart of returns, humming to himself. The employee helping me not only answered my question but took me to the Christmas cards.
What made the difference between Store A and Store B? I think one of the reasons Store B’s employees were so much happier was how they were managed—they seemed to feel valued.
This made me think about how I manage the ministry I’m in. For example, just today I had to sit down with a couple of my volunteers who approached me with some concerns about how I handled a situation. Now I could have become really defensive with them but I decided to just listen and hear their concerns. As I listened I realized I’d made some mistakes, and they had some good suggestions on how those mistakes could be corrected. We walked into that meeting with tensions high but we left it laughing and relaxed.
Each of us has a management style that’s reflected by our team. A look at the health and atmosphere on our team is often a telling reflection of our management style. Some thoughts for you:
- How are you managing things with your team?
- How do you interact with them (lots of tension or calmness)?
- Is there a spirit of grace or of finger-pointing?
- Are your volunteers Happy or Sad?