During graduate school I worked at a Chick-fil-A in Arlington, TX. Because of my school schedule I normally worked the night shift which meant I was the leader for mostly teenagers. The day shift was the “adult” shift and the night shift was the “kid” shift. At first, I wasn’t sure if that would be a blessing or not. It was! As with any job, adults or teens, those in management have responsibilities to keep order and focus. It did not take long for them to learn my style. They had grown accustomed to “doing” their task and then going home.
I remembered my first job. I worked at Wendy’s on Lake Road in Dyersburg, TN. My view of management at the time was like animal planet where they are on the Serengeti watching the Lion sit while everyone else buzzes around trying not to disturb his pondering. Periodically they would emerge from the office only to call out everything we had done wrong and then scurry off to the back. There seemed to never be interaction, instruction, or involvement.
I wanted this team to be better. I wanted this location to be the best job they ever had. While I am fully aware that a high school job is hardly a life changing experience please don’t kill the dream. I worked alongside them. I talked with the crew. I laughed with the crew. I also inspected the crew. Every place has standards and it was a part of my job to make sure that those standards were being met. I told them, especially on Friday nights, the more we work together and do it right the earlier we can leave. With a job well done I blessed them with early exit. We read in Exodus:
So the people of Israel followed all of the lord’s instructions to Moses. Then Moses inspected all their work. When he found it had been done just as the lord had commanded him, he blessed them.
God had given Moses a job to and told him who needed to do it. Once the job was done, Moses inspected the work. When he found it was done right he blessed them. Our culture likes to skip and/or dismiss a step in this process. Often I find those who want to be blessed for showing up, tipped for doing inadequate work, or given a raise for time served. Accountability is difficult, but necessary, work. Holding someone accountable requires that management and worker run in tandem to accomplish the necessary tasks of life, work, and home chores. A few thoughts for those who lead others:
- Have well-defined roles through job descriptions. The easiest way to help a person understand your expectations is to express them in a job description. This description is to be written clearly and with the ability to evaluate using it as a guide and tool.
- Clearly define tasks and responsibilities with measurable aspects. The tabernacle and its pieces had specific measurements and products to be used. It was not hard for Moses to inspect. Defining the tasks for your crew helps everyone know the expectations.
- Inspect regularly. At the end of every shift, we had a checklist. After a week at camp, we have a checklist of cleaning duties. My staff has quarterly evaluations. This allows for focus to be maintained. If we waited to check it every year things could get really skewed. Course corrections are made along the way.
- Bless based on job performance. I am tired of the notion that simply because you clocked in that we should somehow praise you. Those servers who want a tip forget that it means “to insure promptness” and was given ahead of the need. Now we give a tip after the job. I tip if they are deserving. Give raises and bonuses to those who have earned the blessing by a job well done. It was only after inspection that Moses blessed.
Those under your care and leadership might not always like the accountability and inspection. I have found that those moments will occur when they know the job wasn’t done right or well enough. We cannot expect perfection every time, or often. Yet, we can provide guidance to exceptional. Moses had a very cranky crew at times, but that was who God wanted him to lead. You may not have the greatest crew to watch over, but those are who God has for you. Lead well.