One of my mentors and best friends in the world is Jim Wideman. Jim is a leader’s leader. I wanted to share a conversation that I had with Jim about getting along with people. Enjoy!
Ryan Frank (RF): Do most children’s pastors have a hard time getting along with grown-ups?
Jim Wideman (JW): Most children’s pastors are more comfortable relating to kids than with adults. We must be able to communicate with children but we must also be able to talk with parents and volunteers. Most of the calls I get from children’s pastors concerning adults are questions on how to deal with workers and other staff members. If you cannot lead and impact adults you’ll never have an outstanding ministry to children.
RF: We joke in our office about how much brother Jim likes lists. If I asked you for a list of tips for dealing with adult volunteers and coworkers, could you give me ten or twelve?
JW: Yeah, buddy. Here you go.
1. Realize you need help.
2. Let people get to know you as a leader and as a real person.
3. Be personable.
4. Be a good leader (set the example for others to follow).
5. Explain the hows and whys as well as the whats. Be a teacher.
6. Admit when you’re wrong. Take responsibility for your mistakes.
7. Always side with authority.
8. Watch and inspect. Use your MBWA (manage by walking around) degree.
9. Dare to confront.
10. Say thank you. The more of this the better.
11. Solicit ideas and opinions from others.
12. Look for ways to help others look good.
You asked me for twelve, but I’m going to give you five more:
13. Be an encourager.
14. Don’t be a time stealer. Respect the time of others.
15. Serve those over you.
16. Dare to communicate. Keep others in the know.
17. Don’t guess or assume if you don’t know.
RF: Do you have one word of advice for people who want to improve their people skills?
JW: The choice is all yours. Only you can make the choice to be as effective with adults as you are with kids!