Eve Annunziato

Unwrapping The Right GIft February 25, 2008

Filed under: Team Building — Eve Annunziato @ 5:24 pm

 “People aren’t harnessing the power of their innate gifts…. More than half of churchgoers report that they don’t get to do what they do best in their congregations. And this is driving people away.” From the book, Living Your Strengths.

This is an all too familiar complaint in many congregations. Most churches clearly fail to connect the right volunteer “player” to the team position that’s right for them. Clearly, abilities go unrecognized and untapped for far too many key people. The resulting frustration is shared by all parties involved. Why not observe your team members’ talents and gifts to make sure you understand them? Once you do, wouldn’t it be most wise to then use that volunteer where they would be most effective? Doing this allows you to not only serve that person better, but he or she will also serve to carry out your team’s vision most effectively. There are many road maps to help you plot the direction of each person serving by your side. I found the following resources to be most helpful:

  • “Living Your Strengths” by Albert Winseman, Donald Clifton and Curt Liesveld. This is an online talent assessment instrument. Inside each book is a special code that allows you to take the test online
  • http://mintools.com/spiritual-gifts-test.htm – I suggest all team members fill out this online test to discover their spiritual gifts. And, you’ll get to know each person on a much deeper level.
  • DiSC® is the original research validated personality behavioral assessment. “DiSC Profile” can be taken online or in the paper self-scoring format found at http://www.onlinediscprofile.com.

Friend and esteemed leader, Brian Dishon, taught me a brilliant exercise. Ask each person on your team to fill out the following chart:

  1. List what you’re “Good at and Enjoy doing”
  2. List what you’re “Good at and Don’t enjoy doing”
  3. List what you’re “Bad at and Enjoy doing”
  4. List what you’re “Bad at and Don’t enjoy doing”

Next, as the leader, list your expectations for the particular assignment. Simply match the person strengths or “Good at and Enjoy Doing” with the appropriate position. A commonsensical approach yet a revolutionary way to connect the right person to the right job. Way to go, Brian! Your passion for assembling your team and commitment to outstanding leadership inspire me!

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. Romans 12:6

Unwrap the right gifts of individuals – you will discover their expertise and as a result you will discover your fullest potential as a leader amidst inspired, energized and motivated team players.


Leaders Speak Many Languages February 18, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 2:10 am

I have a 4-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. It didn’t take me long through trial and mostly error, before I quickly realized they are so incredibly different. One really is from Mars…but I won’t disclose which! They are different sexes, have different love languages, and react to discipline in different ways. Although I don’t understand why exactly, I’ve learned to simply accept it and ultimately embrace it. My daughter, Oharah, is joy-filled yet emotional, thrives on words of affirmation and reaches her fullest potential through positive reinforcement. My son, Gentry, is sweet-spirited, yet sensitive, prefers quality time (being grounded and sent to his room is like serving a life sentence in his eyes). The greatest mistake I can make as a parent is to not parent them as individuals. If I were to try and lead them both in the same way, I would fail. It would be a frustrating and fruitless method. As a mother, I must speak two different languages to my very two different children.

Isn’t leadership quite the same?

“Interactive management is a process of dealing with people as individuals in order to build trust, openness, and honesty in the manager-employee relationship, thereby improving productivity in the organizational setup. To treat your employees as unique individuals, you as the manager must understand what makes them different from one another. With this knowledge, you can go about managing your employees as unique individuals with unique personalities, problem, and needs. This ‘custom-tailored’ approach to managing employees in an organizational setting is one of the major thrust of interactive management.” The Art of Managing People, by Tony Alessandra.

While leading volunteers, all of whom have different skill sets, unique talents and individual gifts, we must make appropriate adaptations.

“God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.” 1 Peter 4:10

As director of the kid’s worship service at my church, I had a wonderful group of volunteers with a plethora of amazing capabilities. There’s the successful attorney who thrives backstage with thoroughness, efficiency and excellence, A Phd with the gift of helps who cheerfully arrives early Sunday morning to set up the stage and chairs, A creative writer with great stage presence, full of Chutzpah, smart wit, and perfect comedic timing. The interactive 35-minute production designed for kids and their parents is chocked full of drama, video, and music.  Over 100 volunteers, with much preparation and diligence throughout the entire week, are assimilated to pull off the worship service effectively. There are costumes, props, scripts, PowerPoint presentations, music, set up, tear-down, marketing, creative teams – just to name a few details involved in this incredible ministry! During this process, it’s rather evident that each volunteer leader speaks a different language. I don’t manage the CPA the same way I do the Creative Artist. I cast vision differently, I shepherd differently, I encourage differently, and I recruit differently. I’m the same leader, yet the way in which I communicate is quite distinct. For example, some of my favorite volunteers to manage are the artists. 

Ah, the creative geniuses of the church have great strengths; they accomplish art I can’t even dream up. Artists of video, drama, music, design are single-mindedly devoted to their craft, and often see the world in shades of gray rather than black and white. Many of them resist quick or simplistic conclusions. These right-brained thinkers don’t accomplish tasks by going to meetings, checking to-do lists, or conforming to strict deadlines. These out of the box volunteers are invaluable to a team, however; they are deep thinkers, build relationships and put people before paper. In other words, when approaching an artist in your church, don’t simply begin by ordering assignments. Rather, strike up a conversation about their week, their life, their feelings. Invite them out for coffee, a show, your house for dinner. These passionate souls feel emotions deeply and you’ll gain their respect when treated like an individual. These guys demand authenticity and consistently need to know why they’re doing what they’re doing and how they’re making a difference in His kingdom. How fun are they; so polar opposite of other team members. For instance, I managed an over-achiever volunteer who is Vice President of Marketing. Whenever I call her, she much prefers that I make my point and make it quickly. She wants a list of things I need and a deadline and then for me to hang up and let her get busy. This self-starter doesn’t want to be micromanaged, and surely doesn’t have time for conversation. So, I simply make my request, make my point and follow up a day or two before the event. If I acted like that with my creative artists, they would certainly screen my next call!

“You must give proper honor to all who serve so well.” 1 Corinthians 16:17

Don’t be afraid to lead each person as an individual. Study their personality, learn their likes, dislikes, understand their dialect and always be flexible with your management styles.

“Inflexibility is one of the worst human failings. You can learn to check impetuosity, overcome fear with confidence, and laziness with discipline. But for rigidity of mind there is no antidote. It carries the seeds of its own destruction.” – Anonymous.

Discern your team member’s personal lives, assimilate their professional roles and productivity will increase within your team and organizational setting.

Michael McGraff states, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

Amen to that, Michael! Become a bilingual leader and you will attract a diverse group of uniquely beautiful individuals most likely the type who illustrate talents, gifts, and abilities well beyond your own! 

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A Leader’s Leader February 13, 2008

Filed under: Leadership — Eve Annunziato @ 2:35 am

All great leaders SERVE! James C Hunter author of, “The Servant,” said it best:

“Leadership begins with the will, which is our unique ability as human beings to align our intentions with our actions and choose our behavior. With the proper will, we can choose to love, the verb, which is about identifying and meeting the legitimate needs, not wants, of those we lead. When we meet the needs of others we will, by definition, be called upon to serve and even sacrifice. When we serve and sacrifice for others, we build authority or influence, the ‘Law of the Harvest,’ and when we build authority with people, then we have earned the right to be called leader.”

After all, does not the greatest leader who ever walked this earth share in this same philosophy? The most beautiful depiction of leadership in scripture is when Jesus humbly got on his hands and knees and conducted the traditional footwashing ceremony. “The Message” translation from John 13:12-17 is my favorite:

“So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer.”

Jesus’ illustration should fill us up with truth and conviction that, if embraced, can be quite rewarding. This profound ritual should guide us in a new direction toward the way we influence others, especially in the case of leading volunteers. Part of healthy management in ministry is guiding volunteers with mercy, with benevolence. As Christian leaders we need to exemplify true grace. Furthermore, leaders need to cast the vision and respectfully explain the mission clearly, often and creatively. We leaders need to start asking volunteers to accomplish the mission for the body of Christ, rather than demanding volunteers to perform tasks for our own purpose. We need to view volunteers as individuals and, in order to successfully accomplish the big picture, walk along their sides rather than walk over them.

In order to build loyal unpaid leaders, we need to build relationships; we need to build trust. In order to gain trust we need to lead with love. In order to lead with love, we need to realize these amazing people are treasured. Proverbs 18 states it beautifully while reminding us that a person’s words “can be life-giving water.” Volunteers want to feel needed, wanted, and appreciated as well as feel confident they’re making a difference in His kingdom. We need to give them words of affirmation.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:10

Let’s commit to view these priceless brothers and sisters as our Father views them and to treat each individual servant with depth and joy.

One by one, He cleansed their soles and as a result replenished their souls. A genuine testament that The King of Kings is truly a Leader’s Leader!

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