Nobody’s Perfect: When Things Don’t Work Out- Guest Blog

11 Feb

Great stuff!! Visit Group’s SimplyGroupMinistry for more awesome thoughts and ideas!

There are times when you’ll have to “fire” a volunteer. Even when you do everything right, nobody’s perfect. Not you, and not the people you recruit. There’s a right way to do this and a wrong way — actually, lots of wrong ways. But if you’ve done your work up front, you’ll also have natural and logical places to part company with a volunteer:

The term of service. If you’ve agreed that the person will serve for six months, then at the end of that time you’re not obligated to renew the agreement. Celebrate and thank that person for his or her time of service, then let that person go serve elsewhere.

The job description. Have a regular review/coaching schedule with your small-group leader. It could be a monthly touch-base, or some other event where you talk through issues or concerns. If your leader doesn’t improve, you’ve laid the groundwork to let him or her out of the commitment.

If you haven’t built in your escape hatches up front, there are still ways to let a leader go, in a sensitive and tactful manner:

Allow the opportunity for self-removal. Volunteers who are struggling usually already know it. Set aside some time to meet and ask a simple question, “How’s it going?” Then sit back and listen as they share their struggle and pain. Be gracious and understanding as you offer the opportunity to quit.

When all else fails… When you have a volunteer who’s doing an awful job while thinking he or she’s doing a wonderful job, you have a challenge on your hands. It falls to you to help that person see that he or she’s not doing the job agreed upon.

And when that fails… It’s a rare occurrence, but you may have to confront a volunteer with the truth that he or she isn’t doing the job and, for the sake of the overall ministry, you’re removing him or her. Even at this level – especially at this level, in fact – do everything with respect. Schedule a face-to-face appointment. Never fire a leader over the phone, by e-mail or text message. Express your care for that person, allow him or her to work through the emotions, and talk about alternatives.

Being uncomfortable isn’t a reason to avoid doing the right thing. As a leader, it’s key that you protect the integrity of the ministry before the feelings of any individual. Never threaten the health of your ministry simply to avoid conflict with an ineffective volunteer. Leaders make hard choices and take timely action.


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