First I Freak, then I Troubleshoot
I keep saying, "I don't want to lead anything." And I don't. But I think my first-born tendencies and type-A personality make that impossible. I do have some of the qualities of a good leader: self-starter, planner, motivator, list-maker, etc. What I don't have? Diplomacy. I have learned the hard way (ahem, many times) is that saying what you really think in the heat of the moment (although it may be true) is not a good thing and will not get the job done. What I have learned is that being gracious, kind, and flexible tend to get better results.
Unfortunately for me and why I should not lead, is that when a problem arises, I freak out at first. My mind races and I think of all things that are going wrong. However, once I talk it out (oh, my poor husband), start examining my possibilities, and given some time, I find ways to troubleshoot. And those ideas tend to work out really well or even better than the original plan. The troubleshooting part makes me a good leader, the freaking out? Not so much.
In my current role as volunteer coordinator for our church's summer camp I'm learning very quickly to learn to be flexible and patient. We have a few new volunteers and they are a little overwhelmed with what it takes to coordinate summer camp. The things is, they have the easier part. They get to work with the kids and lead them to the different activities. It's the coordinating camp and the people that is more daunting.
I had received an e-mail that was just irritating and quite a few not very nice things stormed through my brain as I read it. Really, I wanted to tell the sender to woman-up. Fortunately for her I decided not to respond right away, because I would have totally called her out. Totally. It seems like I'm less patient in my old age. Step up or step back because I do not have the time to coddle. Unfortunately that's the side of me that comes out when I'm in charge...probably another reason why I shouldn't lead...it just stresses me out.
Instead I took a step back, reminding myself that we are all volunteers and quite frankly the woman was overwhelmed by the task of leading a group of preschoolers through camp activities. After spending the day catching up with a friend and watching my kids have fun, I went back to the e-mail. God gave me patience, diplomacy, and grace as I responded. I've yet to hear back from the sender, but the others CCed in the e-mail responded positively. Whew.
As time goes on, I hope to freak out less in challenging situations when working with a large group. I hope that I can continue to employ diplomacy in my interactions with others and to emulate the positive characteristics of patience, grace, and peace from the saints that we are learning about in Summer camp. Say a little prayer for me if you will.
Peace and all good --St. Francis of Assissi