Missy was on the women’s ministry leadership team at her local church. She used her gift of hospitality by organizing events and decorating for every function from Bible study kickoffs to leadership retreats. Most of the time she made the hard work look effortless; but, at times, her team leader, Julie, noticed that Missy was so caught up in the details that she went about her work with a scowl on her face. Sometimes she even snapped at those helping her when they asked her a question or failed to help her adequately. After Julie had a conversation with Missy about her attitude, Julie continued to monitor and coach her to remember to be an example of the joy and the hope we have as Christians. Missy, however, felt that Julie never really forgave her for being grumpy and debated whether she should remain on the team. Missy mistook Julie’s leadership style for a lack of forgiveness.
As leaders, we observe the actions and demeanor of those on our team and we are obligated to speak the truth in love in a guiding and grace-filled way. It’s important to follow up on corrective conversations without “nagging” and hovering. Try these tips:
- Treat the person how you would want to be treated. (Luke 6:31)
Before you even have a conversation, do a little “mental role reversal” and choose your words carefully.
- Model the behavior yourself. (Joshua 24:15)
The best possible way to lead is by example. In this case, Julie needed to make sure she was smiling, kind, and approachable. Only then could she begin to point out the flaws in her team member.
- Know when to let it go. (Romans 16:21)
After your team member has shown personal and spiritual growth, it’s time to move on. Sure, the problem may arise again, and if it does, it will need to be addressed. But no one likes to have someone look over her shoulder constantly. Look at how Paul nurtured Timothy and, eventually, considered him a “fellow worker.”
Most importantly, make sure you keep your focus on honoring Jesus and encouraging your team member. Few things go further than a kind word and a smile. (Proverbs 15:1)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dolly Mink has a heart for women who are hurting. Years of experience in Christian leadership have given her a unique perspective and she is eager to share her observations insights, and words of encouragement all in a way that honors her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dolly serves on the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team at River Oak Church in Chesapeake, and on the SBCV Women’s Ministry Leadership Team.
To read more, visit her blog, Grateful for the Grace.