Even though I’ve been really busy this summer, I’ve tried to keep up with my reading. This effort has been aided by the Kindle Touch I bought a few months ago (I highly recommend it). As I mentioned a few days ago, I’m reading Seth Godin’s book, Linchpin right now. Before that, I read Dave Ramsey’s book, Entreleadership

Dave’s book has so much great content, I’m sure it will generate quite a few more posts. One thing that really resonated with me is a chapter on recognition. He talks about recognition in a corporate setting, but I think it’s just as applicable in the church as well.

Everyone needs and wants to be recognized. Even us techs, who are used to (and generally prefer) to serve in the shadows. We don’t expect to be paraded out on stage to the cheers of an adoring congregation. However, we do like to hear that we did a good job. And if you’re a leader of a volunteer team, know that they like to hear it as well. 

Dave quotes NHL Hall of Fame goalie, Jacques Plante, who once said; 

“How would you like a job where every time you made a mistake a big red light goes on and eighteen thousand people boo?”

In church tech, we call that the neck crane. You know, any time there is any problem with the sound, lights or video, the entire congregation turns around and looks at the tech booth (even if it’s someone else who made the mistake). That’s the type of recognition that church techs are used to. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I don’t always get this right, but I try to thank my tech team each weekend for a job well done. And more than just thank them, I try to highlight something they did especially well, or some of the things that I appreciate about them being there. I believe in this concept so much, I hired an ATD who is a real encourager to lay down even more love on my team (honestly, I’m not that good at it).

Dave lists four things about recognition that I really resonated with. 

  • Recognition is important.
  • Recognition has no power if diluted by everyone getting the same recognition the same way.
  • When people aren’t recognized and noticed they become inanimate.
  • Where there is no recognition it is very difficult to have passionate, creative, motivated team members.

The first one is pretty self-explanatory, though we often miss the significance of it. The second one is interesting; it’s really up to us to learn how to recognize our team members in a way that makes them feel appreciated. This takes time and can be hard, but it’s worth it.

We all know people who are dispassionate and unconcerned about their work. We run into them every day. We don’t want people like that on our teams. Sadly, sometimes, we are the ones who created them. Spend the time to recognize your team and build them up. While I don’t feel like we’ve arrived yet, our team is in a much, much better place than we were a few years ago. A friend of mine mixed here for a while, went away and came back after about a year. He noticed a significant difference in the team dynamic, a difference for the better. 

I don’t think this change is because I’ve had so many motivational training sessions (in fact, we’ve not had nearly enough training), but is in part because I’ve tried to recognize and encourage my team. This is a long game and it takes time to see the benefits of it. But take the time. Make the effort. Your team and your church will thank you for it!

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