How listening can help your staff stay strong throughout COVID-19
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
This year has been full of challenges. It’s been a difficult season for everyone — but many look to church leaders and staff for help and reassurance. Since it appears we’re stuck dealing with COVID-19 for a while, we need to focus some energy on ensuring our leaders and staff stay healthy (and not just physically healthy).
First off, if you’re the pastor, please take some time to rest and recharge yourself each week. Your loved ones, staff, and congregation need you to be healthy. Next, invest some effort to check on your team.
Take the pulse of your team by initiating a conversation. Whether it’s via a video conference or in-person, talk one-on-one with each team member. Consider asking the following:
- What do you love about your job?
- What changes or improvements do you suggest we make?
- What resources would make your job easier or more efficient?
- How does your family feel about your work and the church?
- How many nights a week do you make it home for dinner (or to the dinner table with family if they’re working at home)?
- How often are you able to attend a service (without being interrupted to work)?
- Who are your key volunteer leaders? (Hint: If a staff member can’t name any that could be a red flag.)
- Is there anything I’m doing that you wish I would stop? If so, what?
- Is there anything I’m not doing that you wish I would start? If so, what?
- Has your experience through this pandemic impacted how you feel about your job? If so, how?
If you’re not sure that your team will answer candidly, consider sending out a survey they can complete anonymously. An online tool like SurveyMonkey.com can work well for this purpose.
Whether it’s one-on-one or an anonymous survey, let your team know you want them to be completely honest with their answers. They might be afraid of how you may respond or won’t want to “rock the boat.” Here’s the key: Only ask these questions if you truly want to know the answers and are prepared to do something with what you learn.
Once you’ve received their feedback, take action:
- Compile a list of improvements or changes they requested and work with the team to determine how to make those adjustments. Ask for their suggestions on how to fix any issues.
- Note what they’d like for you to stop or start doing and proceed as appropriate.
- Go home (or shut down your computer) on time as often as possible and encourage your staff to do so. Your team might be stuck in a routine of continually checking email just in case you send a note at 9 p.m. If you decide to draft an email after hours (and it’s not urgent), schedule it to go out the next morning.
As you seek their input, listen carefully, and make changes based on their feedback, your team will feel appreciated and valued. That’s important at any time, but especially now, with so many stressors hitting them at once.
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