Treating others well is something we should all endeavor to do. For those like myself, that work on a church staff, treating others with love and compassion is part of the job. Recently, at my church, we did a staff training on how to treat and respond to others well, and here is what we shared:
- Listen Deeply â€“ Truly listen to people. Donâ€™t think about what you are going to say while others are talking, rather use that time to listen. Ask follow-up questions so you are sure you understand their point of view.
- Consider Their Opinion â€“ Step into their shoes. Or, better yet, put on their shoes and walk a mile. Look at things from their perspective. Include people in meetings and discussions. Ask them what they think. Take and use their ideas. We are all better when we work together.
- Donâ€™t Marginalize â€“ Treat people the same no matter their age, race, country of origin, gender, size, personality. Treating people differently constitutes harassment.
- Speak Slowly â€“ Take time to process your thoughts and do not respond in anger. Encourage people to express their ideas and give them the space to do so. Never butt in or cut people off.
- But Do Speak â€“ Donâ€™t bury frustrations or just â€œlet things go.â€ We donâ€™t get better unless we work things through.
- Communicate Respect â€“ Verbally and non-verbally. Be aware of your words and tone of voice, but also be aware of your body language. You say far more non-verbally than you probably realize.
- Prefer One Another â€“ Remember your job description reads that, â€œYou are one member of a team, your ministry & position is just one of dozens.â€ Set an example of what it means to â€œprefer one anotherâ€ and make room for the ministry and opinions of others.
- Donâ€™t Bully – Never insult people, call them names or put their ideas down. Donâ€™t belittle, judge, demean. Enough of this over time is bullying. Always treat people with courtesy, politeness and kindness.
- Communicate Well â€“ Think through what you are going to say before you say it. Communicate clearly. Communicate in advance. Communicate often. Respond to everyone in a timely manner.
- Be Positive – Praise more frequently than you criticize. Smile. Say thank you. Remember, again, what your job description says, â€œNever forget the importance and the impact of an attitude, be it positive or negative. May God help us to always be positive and faith-filled.â€
- Admit Mistakes â€“ Apologize. We all have bad moments, and we need to apologize when we do. You look, and are, immature if you canâ€™t admit you made a mistake or were wrong.
- Follow the Golden Rule â€“ Treat others as you would want to be treated. Go the extra mile. Show the love of Christ in every interaction you have with everyone you cross paths with.
- Understand the Consequences â€“ Again, we all have bad days, but demonstrating an inability to do the above on a regular basis will not go well for you. On the light end it will affect your annual performance reviews, on the heavy side of things it will lead to you being asked to leave the team. In some cases, like harassment, it can even have legal implications for you. On the flip side, however, good loving communication well result in positive team and church environment for us all.
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