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How to Help Your Ministry Team Love Their Jobs

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“You know you’re working in a JOYFUL work environment when……”

Regardless of whether you are leading a church or any other organization for that matter, the abundant life you long for is a closer reality when the people you lead actually love their work. But how do you know if that’s the case? Here are eight ways to know if you are really promoting what we call “WorkJoy”….and some helpful tips to make your team love their work even more.

  1. People are genuinely engaged in what they consider “meaningful work”! They will naturally engage in their work with enthusiastic fervor if they know the bigger why behind what they do. If they are working in their “sweet spot” and they are truly talented, they are unstoppable. Tip: Hire the right people (cultural fit) with a clear job description that allows for them (and you) to measure their success.
  2. Conversation cannot be contained. When people feel connected to one another, they can’t help but relate to one another on many levels. Personal “connectivity” does not undermine productivity. In fact, it elevates productivity. If the work environment feels more like a library than a coffee house, it’s likely missing the joy factor. Tip: Design office spaces with ample natural light, current furnishings and colors, open spaces for staff meetings and socializing and of course, a coffee bar with an open food policy. Foster an environment where there is a slight “buzz” in the air that comes naturally from human connection.
  3. Creativity flourishes. The more joyful the environment, the more people are free to engage in ideation. There is a freedom that comes with the joyful disposition of others. A freedom to explore new ways of doing things better. TIP: Plan occasional brainstorm sessions including everyone. No idea is a bad idea. Keep it flowing by not over analyzing or rushing to the paralyzing logistics.
  4. People have each other’s back. Joyful teams develop a sense of interdependence with their co-workers. There is a sense that “we’re all in this together”. And their common purpose fuels a sense of healthy teamwork. Competition is undermined by a spirit of mutual success. TIP: Be sure to call out both individual and corporate wins in public. Praising the team for their mutual efforts and successes fuels a spirit of camaraderie and positivity.
  5. Failure is considered a part of the process. Winston Churchill said, “the road to success is paved with failure”. Work places that allow for people to experiment with new ideas even when they fail are likely to foster growth not only among the people who serve there, but in the overall mission of the organization. TIP: Foster a culture of critical evaluation that not only recognizes what worked, but also what didn’t work and why. This can be facilitated in a way that elevates people even when they fail at an attempt that was carefully planned and executed. No risk…no reward.
  6. Work flows naturally….and then some! Joyful work environments not only afford an atmosphere where people get the job done, they often go above and beyond the expected by delivering tasks early, with greater quality and outcomes. Their motivation is fueled by a positive environment where precision praise is common and celebration just happens. TIP: Recognize the remarkable contribution of people by rewarding them with everything from public recognition promotions. People who feel un-noticed or under-appreciated are less motivated to contribute their best work. And sometimes will choose to work elsewhere.
  7. People feel secure: Organizations are like families. And just like children feel more secure when Mom and Dad are thriving, employees feel more secure when leadership has their act together. Vision clarity, missional strategy and precision branding all help fuel a sense of organizational health and future success. TIP: Experienced leaders know that in the real world, “vision leaks, and mission drifts”. Therefore, the best leaders consistently keep the team secure and on track by amplifying their deep conviction as to why we do what we do and how we go about accomplishing it. Unless the vision, mission and values filter down in to every fiber of the organization, we risk them becoming only platitudes that look good on a wall but have little effect on the people who makes things happen.
  8. People are grateful. The healthiest work environments are filled with people who love their work. And more importantly they love where they work. And when that’s the case, they don’t hold back from sharing how grateful they are to be working there. They are actually proud to say that they work there! You’ve likely, at least “tasted” the horrible feeling of a negative work environment. Few things compare to the emotional drain of this kind of work culture. TIP: Fuel a grateful team by promoting a joyful work environment with calculated effort on a weekly basis. Without a deliberate action on your part as a leader, a positive culture will eventually erode. It is your job to keep the vision clear, the mission on point, and the culture healthy. Start by engaging one of one with each of your team members affirming them for the work they day and why it makes a difference to the organization.