In the early days of the pandemic, accommodation was the name of the game when it came to helping staff negotiate huge work/life challenges. Inadequate technology at home, loss of childcare, children studying virtually from home, and spouses negotiating shared workspace. We leaned heavily into the grace side of our employment relationships. Now staff teams are experiencing some of the downsides of grace without accountability.
How is remote work changing us, and which of the changes will remain once the pandemic is over? What problems are arising as staff work from home, and what advantages are turning up? What does this all tell us about the future of work in congregations? I am working on an Augsburg Fortress book about working remotely, and I want to share some of my early findings with you.
We live in a culture that trains us to think of problems as “our problems.” As pastors, too often, we think that we must figure out how to grow the church, make sure the budget is balanced, and ensure that programs are well attended. I certainly did. Many of my colleagues feel the same way. It is a heavy burden to bear.
When all the actors understand their responsibilities and respect their boundaries, both the staff and the congregation are more likely to enjoy a healthy staff environment.
Many congregations assign to each staff member a personnel liaison: a lay leader who serves on the board or personnel committee and is charged with supporting that specific team member. Few congregations manage these liaison roles well, and as a result they often do more harm than good. Congregations appoint liaisons for a variety of …
Most supervisors must supervise people whose work they could not do. One key to success is a well-written job description.
Transforming the culture of a toxic team is hard work, and it begins with looking at the team’s behavioral norms.