I have a job that is highly dependent on people and circumstances. And, my job isn’t highly dependent on just any old paid, additional employees, either. I have the wonderful responsibility of leading a group of approximately 35 extremely talented volunteers each week.
The majority of the time, working with volunteers is an incredible, life-changing, rewarding experience. At other times not so much. This usually happens when the circumstances and schedules of my volunteers collide with the organization’s work agenda, especially at the last minute. Then I am pushed to be more resourceful and creative then I really want to be.
I’d much rather be focused on other important aspects of my job than spending a bunch of time trying to find people to cover all the bases on a particular weekend. But, I’m also the type of guy that just pushes through, grumpy or not, and gets the job done.
The part of my job that can lead to becoming grumpy and grouchy is when I have a number of my head volunteers all needing to be out around the same time frame. And then, when some of these head volunteers decide to communicate with me at the last minute, my frustration level begins to rise.
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in this very situation with two of my key volunteer leaders and last minute communication. I wasn’t happy with my own response when they told me at the last minute that they needed to be out. This lead to a re-thinking of my entire situation as I lead my group of volunteers. I even had to go back and apologize to these leaders for my initial dumb responses.
4 Thoughts On Handling People And Circumstances
- Acknowledge That There Will Always Be A Few Challenges. When we deal with people and circumstances, especially in our current busy life culture, then we need to acknowledge that there will be continual challenges. This is the new normal (even though we may not like it. I certainly don’t!). We need to have constant, creative back-up plans always ready to go.
- Acknowledge That Some People Are More Committed To The Cause Than Others. I know who the people are in my organization who are sold out to the mission. I also have a pretty good idea of those who are mostly in but still part way out, weighing all their options on a given weekend. I can’t hold a gun to the heads of all my volunteers and ask them for the same level of commitment. The best I can do is be an example of commitment to them and encourage a stronger commitment over time.
- Plan A Positive But Honest Response To Last Minute Communication. Looking back at my two people failures last week, I have a much better idea now of how I should have handled their communication with me. I should have immediately affirmed their circumstances and decision that lead to their needing to be out. And, at the same time, I should have asked for more timely notification in the future.
- Embrace The Circumstances As An Opportunity To Grow. While we may feel like we have “arrived” in our personal growth in dealing with people and circumstances, there’s always room for improvement. Whatever challenges you may be facing with people and circumstances, seek out new areas of growth.
How Do You Handle Challenging People And Circumstances?
So, do you have some of the same challenges with people and circumstances that I have? How do you handle your challenges? Do you have additional insights that I may have missed?
If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment below.