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When Volunteers Disappoint

Work through disappointment and create realistic expectations for your team.
3. Pray.

Prompted by God, I started giving my teammates 3x5 cards every month and asking them to write down confidential prayer requests. This gives me a window into their lives and the extenuating circumstances that they’re facing. If someone is dealing with a chronic health issue or an unexpected layoff, it’s obviously going to affect them in their role. Knowing this helps me extend grace and mercy, and my prayers help them feel loved.

4. Have the hard conversation.

If you routinely feel disappointment (or frustration) with a particular team member, don’t back away from having those hard and seemingly impossible conversations. I never look forward to initiating a conversation along the lines of, “It seems that things are a bit problematic. Can we talk about what’s going on?” They not only help me to grow, however, but often provide essential feedback. Work to find the balance of extending grace and confronting appropriately.

5. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude.

My disappointment always diminishes when I authentically express gratitude. I’ve learned that the more specific I am, the bigger the payoff. This means I try to avoid offering generalities (“Great job tonight.”) and go for specifics (“When you engaged with the participants during that last section and went directly into prayer, the Spirt of God met them in a powerful way. Thank you for being sensitive to these dynamics.”).

Whenever you notice that you are grumbling or not enjoying leadership, take a moment to see if disappointment is the issue. Now that I’m learning to recognize disappointment and discern what it’s trying to tell me, I find that I’m less controlling and more relaxed. I’m also able to truly enjoy and appreciate the men and women that the Lord raises up in our ministry—even if they go over on their allotted teaching time!

* Not her real name

Dorothy Littell Greco is an author and writer living outside Boston. She is a regular contributor to WomenLeaders.com and CT Women, and a member of Redbud Writers Guild. She is the author of Making Marriage Beautiful.

May15, 2017 at 11:13 AM

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