Type A: a personality type characterized by ambition, high energy, and competitiveness.
Type A individuals thrive in the business world, but at times can struggle in a volunteer culture. Why is that? In the church world, the volunteers are the face of the ministry, the real difference makers, apart from whom we could not accomplish the mission of the ministry.
How do you navigate the tricky waters between the banks of high standards, and low discouragement?
1) Prioritize what matters most based on principles that make the organization win, not preferences that make you feel good.
Often a type A leader will remain frustrated because they feel as if those in their organization are not keeping pace with their expectations. The problem is often their expectations are not prioritized or articulated. This will result in both the leader and the volunteer staff feeling a sense of failure. The leader thinks, “We should be at a higher level,” while the volunteer thinks, “No matter what I do it seems to not be enough.”
What is the answer? Prioritize your expectations based on what causes a win for the organization and lower your expectations on superfluous elements that do not fulfill the game-changing objectives. I know when I say, “lower your expectations,” you are pushing back, using a Christian cuss word in your head saying, “No, we can’t do that.”
Remember, this is more about the development of the team than it is the fulfillment of your drive. Your team wants to help you win. However, when you don’t clarify your objectives and have a broad and ambiguous definition of the win, then they can’t help you win. You will end up getting onto them about a preference, when they actually got the principle right.
2) Remember they will value what they see you validate.
People really don’t do what is effective; they do that for which they get validated. We must learn to validate the “why” more than the “what”.
Example: Lets say that you see a greeter ignore a person walking in your worship experience to go pick up a piece of trash. You then validate them for picking up the trash. What you are doing is programming them to what you value by what you validate. The next time that greeter sees a piece of trash, they will abandon their main objective to pick up a piece of trash almost every time.
To focus on the “why” more than the “what” means you would say to that volunteer, “I am so glad you are here to make every person who comes in the door smile and feel welcomed. If that means you have tell your friends you will talk to them later, or wait to pick up a piece of trash until after you have welcomed every guest, then that is a win. I am so glad we have you at this post.”
In doing this, you are validating the purpose based on principle and are not sending confusing messages that do not translate through personality types.
C) (Type A humor.) Remember your real work is to develop people’s character, not to change their personality.
You will be perpetually frustrated if you think that you are there to change their personality. You will feel like a failure, they will feel nothing is ever good enough.
God sends you people not to make them more like you, but so you can help them become more like Him.
Do these things, and you will raise the standard without lowering morale. You can lead any personality down a path of productivity and cultivate a culture of excellence.