This past Friday, our family was driving to Colorado Springs for a family day. We were planning on visiting the Compassion International office headquarters, spending some time with my Grandpa (mom’s side) who lives in a nursing home in the Springs and then doing a fun activity together as well. Before we left that morning though, I got an all staff group text from one of our staff members who was in Denver, taking a train back “home” that night but they left their wallet in their desk at church.
Through a series of texts between several staff members we found her wallet, I swung by the church with the family to get it, got an address on where to take it, and we would drop it off in Denver on the way to the Springs. Obviously, this was a huge time saver for this staff member because they now didn’t have to drive all the way back to Cheyenne to get it. (She should acknowledge how AWESOME her boss is after she reads this blog. Of course, as of a week ago, she didn’t even know I had a blog. “I’m kind of a big deal!” But I digress.)
After meeting her in Denver and dropping off her wallet, which she was incredibly grateful, we loaded back up in the car and headed toward the Springs. One of my kids asked, “Do you think she was embarrassed?” My son piped up, “Why would she be embarrassed?” “Well, dad is her boss maybe it was embarrassing to have him bring her wallet down, I don’t know.” That’s when he said it, “Oh man, I completely forgot you were the boss.” I asked, “You forgot I was the boss?” He said, “Yeah, you guys all have so much fun together on staff I forgot you were their boss.”
First of all, I thought that was amazing and I hope other people see that as well. Second, it got me thinking about staff culture. When the son of the boss forgets that his dad is the boss there have got to be some things happening that help create this. These aren’t exclusive, and he wouldn’t be able to articulate all of these on his own, but I think there three things are all parts of creating the kind of staff culture where the boss can be forgotten.
1. Fun — A team that plays together stays together. I’ve talked about this before, but I don’t think I laugh harder with any other group of people than I do with our staff. There are times we are doubled over, shedding tears from our laughter together. And this seems to happen whenever any of us are in the same room. There are times we schedule time to play (9 square and corn hole have been some of our favorites) but I think the best times are the unplanned ones. Fun isn’t something you schedule as a team, fun should be who you are. Yes, our team works VERY hard, but we play hard too and it’s built a great dynamic among us.
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2. Picking up the slack — I think one of the reasons why my son could look at our team and forget why I was the boss is we have a team that picks up the slack for other team members. No one is above any role in the church and no one is below asking for help. Every one of our team members views another staff member as equal on the team, and they show that by picking up the slack where it’s needed. Yes, we have a staff org chart that shows certain staff members as “higher” than others. Yes, there is information that only certain staff members are privy too, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of ministry, I believe everyone does their job well and everyone is willing to help with someone else’s. One of our staff core values is, “We will not ask anyone else to do what we are not willing to do ourselves.” There is always room to improve in this area, but I’m so proud to be the “boss” of a team that seems to be willing to pick up the slack.
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3. Transparency — Every Tuesday, our staff meets for prayer. It’s the first meeting of the day on Tuesday and not only do we pray over every request that gets turned in to the church the previous week, but we also take time to pray for each other as needed. I remember one meeting when someone shared something personal about a family issue they were having and said, “I’m so ashamed to be telling you that.” I immediately piped up and said, “Don’t be ashamed, let me share with you something that’s happening in my own family right now.” Then someone else shared their family struggle. We were all on the same level that day. There was no boss or employee, there was brother and sister shedding tears for one another in prayer. When you are transparent about your needs on a team it helps transform that team into a family.
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