Ed. note: we recently ran a series of articles of great advice from Gayle on "How to delegate" (CLICK HERE to go to it) and this series follows well because it gives you invaluable advice on getting along, not only will volunteers, but everyone you meet in the course of your work.
How to work well with others or what to do when our biggest problems are people, not computers, Part 1
When computers first entered church offices, common knowledge was a) secretaries would resist them, and b) technology would generate the majority of office problems from that point forward.
Common knowledge was wrong: a) office assistants were, and remain, enthusiastic about what computers can do for ministry, and b) people, not computers, are still our greatest challenge.
These ideas were shared by ministry assistants when they were asked “What is your best pointer for working well with people?”
• be the adult
Maturity has little to do with age; it has everything to do with attitude. Conducting yourself as a responsible professional gives you a huge head start toward working well with others.
The mature person:
• has self-respect
• treats others with respect
• stays on task even without supervision
• shakes off injustice; isn’t concerned with getting even
• considers consequences before speaking or acting
• is trustworthy; keeps confidences
Certainly there are other criteria, other definitions of maturity, but these at least at essential.
• speak with restraint
We all know the person who if asked what time it is tells us how to make a clock. This is not the person we most enjoy working with. Enough said.
• practice common courtesy
Unfortunately, common courtesy is not all that common. Saying please and thank you shows consideration for others. Courtesy might even be viewed as a first step in heeding Paul’s words in Philippians: “… let each of you regard one another as more important than himself…”
• recognize your professional growth
You have come a long way since your first days in the church office. You know a lot now that you didn’t know then. Remembering what it was like not to know helps you work well with others. It helps you be a better teacher, a more patient supervisor, a less judgmental coworker. Everyone needs time to learn; sometimes that someone is you, sometimes it is the person you are working with.
• give respect; expect respect
“I allowed myself to be treated like an absolute mushroom in my first job. I was kept in the dark and fed lots of fertilizer. No wonder I wasn’t working well with others!” We asked ministry assistants for honest opinions—and we got them.
People who expect to be treated well usually are. Set the pace for office harmony by relating positively to others and anticipating the same from them. Consciously or not, we are always teaching others how to treat us. When it comes to behaviors, it is true that what you permit, you promote.
• ditch irritating habits
Working well with others demands a certain level of tolerance for coworkers’ idiosyncrasies and habits. We have limited control, if any, over the work styles of others, but we can contribute to office harmony by becoming aware of—and controlling—our own habits.
To go to Part 2, CLICK HERE