Thursday, November 6, 2014

Need Leaders...Pamper!

 For me pampering leaders has two meanings.  And it’s important to do both.  So what does pampering mean?  First, it carries this fun meaning, “to change one’s dirty diaper”.  Second, it carries this other meaning, “to indulge with attention and affection”.  And remember, both are important.

What does it look like to pamper the “change diapers” way?  Well, sooner or later people on your team are going to face challenges in their role, challenges among the team, challenges with the people they serve, challenges in their personal life.  Life just happens and things just smell a little funky from time to time.  As a leader we have the responsibility to smell the funk, not ignore it, step towards it and work to remove it.

What does that look like?  A couple examples…Let’s say a leader comes in just really agitated and blowing up about what seems to be little things.  That’s funky.  So you move towards the funk!  You say to that person, “It seems like you are really frustrated, what’s REALLY going on?”  In that conversation you find out that their ex-spouse was fighting with them on custody battles again.  You are able to pray with them, help them calm down for the day and focus on the people they are there to serve.   

Another example…Let’s say a few leaders are experiencing differences of opinion.  You notice they are not talking to each other about the problem.  Instead, they are talking about each other’s wrong opinions.  You recognize that smells funky, so you move towards the funk.  You gather the leaders together to help them agree on a solution to the problem.

Leaders are responsible for pampering their volunteers in this “let’s clean up the mess” kind of way.  When they do, they build teams that are fun, positive, and free of funk.  When morale is high volunteers are also more likely to begin recruiting others to the team to join them in the fun.

The other kind of pampering is obviously a lot more fun to do.  But it’s really easy to neglect if you aren’t intentional about it.  Pampering to indulge with attention and affection.  Oftentimes we can place a leader on the team, and they show up consistently week after week and then leave feeling: anonymous, like they don’t matter, or unsure how they contribute to the team.  That’s a terrible way to live.  Miserable even, as Patrick Lencioni puts it in his book “Three Signs of a Miserable Job”.  We can get so caught up in getting the job done that we forget leadership is more about people than product. 

There’s lots of creative ways to indulging leaders with attention and affection.  Not all of the ways involve money either.  Below, check out this list of ways to pamper, indulge, motivate and appreciate leaders that I recently picked up from a conference workshop by Steve Stroope. 

Ways to Pamper Leaders
1.  Money – Some leaders feel pampered when you take the time to write a thank you note with a gift card.  If you can get a gift card to a place you know they especially enjoy, even better.

2.  Public or Private Praise – Some people feel pampered by being publicly acknowledged for a job well done.  Others would rather crawl in a hole and hide.  Be sure you know if they like public or private praise.

3.  Access – Some leaders feel pampered by spending time getting to know you their leader.  Extra time outside of the norm is gold to them.

4.  Input – Some leaders feel pampered by knowing their way was considered.  This means taking the time to ask them for input as you look at making decisions.

5.  More Responsibility – Some leaders feel pampered when you ask them to take on an extra project or to oversee an initiative.  By releasing responsibility to them they feel you know and trust their skills and experience.

6.  Empowerment – Some leaders feel pampered when they feel you know and trust them to make wise decisions in their areas of ministry.  Micromanagement crushes them; empowerment to make decisions builds them up.

7.  Significance – Some leaders feel pampered when you tell them stories of the eternal significance their efforts are making.  It helps them feel you see and know the impact of their efforts.

8.  Perks & Bonuses – Some leaders feel pampered when you give them special gifts or parties at Christmas, Birthday’s, Anniversaries, Graduations, Milestones, Etc.  It helps them feel valued and known.

9.  Knowledge – Some leaders feel pampered when you invest in their personal growth.  Providing books, training, seminars, conferences, and mentoring opportunities you know they would benefit from skyrockets their excitement to follow your leadership.

10.  Adequate Resources – Some leaders feel pampered when you provide the equipment, budget, facilities, and staff to do their job with excellence.  Stepping in with resources tells them you know the value of their work.

By now you’ve probably gathered that all pampering has to do with making sure you know your leaders.  Not every leader feels pampered by these things.  There’s probably one in there that makes them feel especially pampered.  They key is to know your leaders enough to see what pampers them the most.  How do you know that?  The best way to find out is to simply ask.  And you might think “wow that seems like a lot of work” to know people that well.  Yes, yes it is.  But as a leader we are responsible to know those we are leading.  To that point I look to Jesus’ example of leadership.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,
(John 10:11-14)

Two questions that come to mind as I reflect on this passage:

·      Do I really care enough about those I’m leading to know them like Jesus does?

·      Am I taking the time to express gratitude to those I get to lead?

I think those are questions I have to stop and ask myself continually, making sure my heart is in the right place.  Reminding myself that my role as a leader is one of a servant, laying my life down for the sake of the “sheep”.  To that end, I must remind myself once again to…”Just Serve”…and do so by pampering them there sheep!