Keith Cunningham says,“Leaders inspire, managers control. To be successful we need both.” The problem is that college aged staff are easy to inspire and difficult to control. So how do we inspire people we really need to manage? Three ideas:
- Inspiration happens face to face and one on one. This is the number one reason we sometimes fail; there’s just no way to spend as much time with each person as we would like, so we have to zero in on just a few. As Andy Stanley says, “Do for some what you wish you could do for everyone.” For me this is the people I eat meals with, and of course our year-round professional staff.
- Inspiration is always voluntary. We do this with an optional weekly staff Bible Study. We teach it before breakfast on Mondays and Tuesdays, serve good coffee and try to make connections with their lives at camp. About half the staff attend but everyone appreciates that it’s offered.
- Inspiration happens with stories. The secret here is to stop telling stories that are supposed to inspire others and start telling stories that inspire us. If you’re not emotionally connected, if you cannot physically feel it in your body then your story is going to feel more like management than inspiration.
So why do I think inspiration is so important? Inspiration creates optimism, optimism builds trust and trust makes management easy. Not that anything at camp is really that easy .
Camps Merri-Mac and Timberlake