Lessons from the Big Chair: Work with People

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The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

First, something we covered regularly, was at the end of the day all we have left to work with are people.

Understanding the reality of this statement is imperative for leaders. We are not working with robots, cattle, kittens, or cookie dough. We are working with people with individual and unique personalities, preferences, opinions, strengths and weaknesses.

For a minister, this means leading a group of people is never the same experience. Every meeting, every service, every event, has a unique feel and energy because the people who are present is constantly different.

For a leader, this means get to know those you lead. Learn what makes them tick, what makes them happy, and what makes them upset. Take some time jotting down a few personal observations about how they respond.

If someone seems to always respond in the negative, learn how to lead them to a positive reaction by anticipating their negativity.

If someone values being included in a decision, find ways to include them in other decisions.

If someone brags on a written note they received from you, write more notes to them.

At the end of the day, all we have to work with are people. Make the most of the effort you spend and get to know the people you lead and serve.

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