When working with other people, you will inevitably run into those who are different from you—different in terms of work style, work ethic, and personality.
We are all unique, but those differences make us who we are. How we work, how we collaborate, and how we interact with others is often determined by our personality.
Naturally, we believe that our own way is the best way. Working with those who are unlike us can be rough when their work styles and general dispositions don’t mesh well with our own. So how can you deal with all the different personalities in the church?
Whether you’re a pastor, secretary, or volunteer, working with others can be tough. As children of God, we are all working towards the same mission, but our sinful nature gets in the way. We often struggle to see past each other’s shortcomings and differences.
One of the easiest ways to begin working together is to understand each person’s work style and personality type. Especially when working as a team, whether a volunteer committee or church office staff, it’s important to understand how everyone works.
Take an online work style test, or have each team member identify the environment where they work best. Do they thrive in a collaborative environment? Or do they prefer independent work? Are they a leader or a follower? Do they prefer people or data? Recognizing and acknowledging the situation where you work best is the easiest way to figure out how you can work best with others. Here are a few popular tests you can try:
After you find out everyone’s work style, you can figure out how to work best together. Silly as it may seem, the workplace would be a much more boring place if everyone worked in exactly the same way. For every optimist, there’s a pessimist. For every leader, there’s a follower. For every big-picture thinker, there’s a detail-oriented planner.
Assign tasks to people who would be good at them. The outgoing people-person could be in charge of marketing, while the type-A personality can work out the detailed logistics.
Although it may be hard to work with people who are different from you (for example, I struggle when working with extreme pessimists because I’m such an optimist!), communication is crucial. Your whole staff/team/committee must be open about their strengths and weaknesses, and they must be willing to own up to their shortcomings and share their talents. If you’re all honest about your work styles, then you will be better equipped to work toward and accomplish your goals.
A final cautionary tip: remember, there is still a hierarchy of power, especially in the workplace. Although your boss’s last-minute plans might drive you up a wall, instead of criticizing his work style, offer up your organizational skills. If you are a manager, work to help your team members improve rather than giving up or constantly being frustrated with them.
God places people above us and on our team for a reason. As long as everyone is following the Word of God, the logistics are secondary.
For Biblical inspiration on how to work as a team and recognize your different talents, check out 1 Corinthians 12:12–31.
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