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Jump-starting a new job

Typically you think about how an organization prepares to welcome a new employee by having a computer ready and a schedule of orientation meetings. I’ve just witnessed the other side—a new employee who jump-started a job by his preparation and approach.

The new employee is an interim minister for a congregation of 350 that has seven governing boards. Churches, in my experience, have turf battles and members with different passions….and history. I think you can equate that to many offices, departments, organizations. In the past several weeks, I’ve observed this man approach his new job with professionalism and civility.

Professional approach
He started preparation before he went on the payroll. He requested a list of documents several weeks before he reported to work. He silently observed relationships and interactions at worship services and several workshops…and there he probably had an advantage over most jobs.

Approaching the job with civility
When he officially began this job, he didn’t offer opinions or voice assumptions but asked insightful questions. On his second day at work, he asked me a difficult question, ‘Who are the five most influential people in your congregation?’ My answer, when I had thought about it long enough, was probably how you’d answer for many work places. The most influential do not necessarily hold positions you assume would assure influence. The people I named had earned respect for their leadership exhibited by their work, passion and levelheaded, insightful thinking.

Questions that benefit the organization

If you are receptive to the questions of a new employee, you can look at your organization anew. Who's in charge of what? Why are things the way they are? Who can help explain this? Do you do that? When you try to answer those questions, you see problem areas that were previously invisible to you.

Maybe I should have titled this ‘instant trust and rapport’ because that’s my assessment of how he jump-started this job.

(Trust and rapport are powerful---posts to follow.)


What a great entry referring to someone I just had the privilege to train and become friends with in the IMN's Intentional Interim Ministry course. Good for the transitional pastor and good for such perceptive leadership!