In the years that I have acted as a producer for weekend services, a big part of my job has been “quality control.” For the majority of the last decade, I oversaw worship, production and video in a very large multi-site church. We had Sat. and Sun. services – I would always be at the broadcast campus for the Sat. services and then, many times, I would hop between multi-site campuses on Sunday. In my zeal to hit as many stops as possible, I often forgot the impact of how I showed up in those situations – I would pop in [unannounced] and stand in the back of the room, arms crossed and expressionless. In my defense, usually what was going through my mind was “They’re doing great!” – with ideas for a tweak or two that might take things to the next level. However, I would sometimes forget that I was an “authority figure” – what I thought was a casual visit often came across more like a principal coming into a classroom [no matter how nice that principal is, the tension level rises when he or she arrives].
Then I would be on my way, texting a meaningless “Good Job!” [I’ve done it literally hundreds of times] – meaningless because it was unspecific. I would be off to the next stop, and half of what I observed would be gone from my mind by the end of the morning because I didn’t write it down. Don’t get me wrong – I wholeheartedly feel that frank and consistent evaluation is absolutely essential in building excellence on any team. However… that evaluation needs three things:
1. Clarity – the team member needs to know what the “win” is, and you need to agree on how to get there [note: different team members may have different pathways to achieve the “win”];
2. Frequency – the team member needs to hear from you often. The more time that passes between evaluations, the more stressful each one is. I actually think yearly evaluations are more damaging than helpful in many cases;
3. Compassion – you may need to push or even discipline a team member, but that course correction needs to be out of genuine care for that individual. For anyone to be part of a team long-term, there needs to be a win-win.
More in the days to come…