Reveal the Ripple
In leadership, ripples matter.
If a team member drops the ball on a project, the ripples will affect timelines and deadlines and other team members.
If a volunteer is rude to a guest, the ripples will hit the guest, of course, but also the reputation of your team, the rapport with your church, and possibly the reception of the gospel.
If you make a promise to your team and never follow through, the ripples erode your credibility and affect future momentum.
But here’s the thing about ripples: the source of the ripple never sees the actual ripple. If you toss a rock in a pond, the rock goes beneath the surface a nanosecond before the ripple effect begins. Even if a rock were a sentient being and could perceive the consequences of his splash, he’s underwater while the surface is still rolling.
That’s why we have to help our team members see the ripple effect of their actions. Take, for example, the plea to attend one, serve one. You can’t force a volunteer to abide by that standard. If they want to serve for 20 minutes at the beginning of the service and then join their family on the seventh row back, there’s not much you can do about it. You can’t physically force them to stay in place (I mean you can, but that’s illegal in most states).
However, you can reveal the ripples:
- If they don’t serve a full service, it means that other volunteers on their team are having to carry the burden that they laid down.
- If they walk away from their spot, the chances are good that a guest is walking up to a ghost town.
- If they consistently walk into the service late (because they were serving) and slip out early (because they need to get back to their post), they are cutting into corporate worship and the hearing of God’s word…both of which are integral to a healthy spiritual walk.
All of these are ripples. Most of them remain unseen by the volunteer, because they’ve made their splash and hit their destination.
Which revealed ripple will get the attention of a team member? Who knows. Some might respond to letting down the team. Some might feel drawn towards being present for a guest. Others might be convicted that fully engaging in a worship service is the right thing to do.
As a leader, it’s your job to graciously, gently, but directly reveal the ripple. Let them see the consequences of their actions. And in doing so, you’ll build both a stronger team member and a stronger team.