What If the Problem is You?
I recognize that I came off the top rope in that post title. I’m not mad at you, really.
But like a good parent, I’m not mad, I’m just…frustrated. Frustrated as I go into retail chains. Frustrated as I sit down at a restaurant. Frustrated as I am on the phone or email or chat with a customer service rep from my internet provider.
We seem to be experiencing an epidemic of poor customer service. And if it’s happening in the real world, I have to assume it’s happening within the church.
And it’s easy to toss the blame in a few directions:
- A pandemic, because the team we thought we had is no longer the team we have.
- Our volunteers, because we’re unable to separate people issues from systems issues.
- Our aforementioned systems, because they never make it to the front lines.
- Or even our guests, and let’s just agree right now that they’re not the problem.
That leaves one entity, and we stare at ’em in the mirror every morning. So how do we diagnose our apathy, our discouragement, our frustration, or our laziness? How do we identify whether all roads lead back to our leadership, or – if we’re not in a leadership role – in the way we show up?
I think there are three sure-fire ways to diagnose whether the problem is us:
1. Ask God.
No, for real. Ask him to reveal to you any areas where you’re just phoning it in, have lost your first love for your guests, or have lacked desperation for the state of your team.
But when you pray that, buckle up. Because he will reveal with uncanny timing and specificity those exact areas. For me, it often happens in the same day, revealing attitudes or situations where I’ve mentally checked out.
2. Ask a friend.
Find a trusted friend or co-worker or spouse and ask them to simply observe and diagnose: are you still engaged? Are you bringing your a-game? Is there an attitude or body language or actual language that has crept its way into the way you show up for guests?
Again, buckle up. Because if it’s the right kind of friend who’ll shoot you straight, they’re going to call out things you may not like. But be brave enough to ask them to hold your feet to the fire as you make needed changes.
3. Ask your guests.
Here’s the game-changer: survey your guests to find out if how you’re serving them is the way they need to be served. While a first-time guest survey may not reveal specifics about your presence (unless you really managed to burn the experience down around them…ouch), but it will reveal trends about your overall guest culture.
That person in your mirror ain’t gonna get better by accident. Find out if you’re the problem, and take steps to make it better.