How to Be a Great Volunteer Part 4: Be Flexible

a4c84d477faa4c258ea4fc24563b6435I’ve held a number of different jobs over the course of my life. Before my professional career as a pastor I worked as a bus boy at a restaurant, at a dry cleaners, at a men’s clothing store, and at an ice cream shop to name a few. At each one of those places I was given a job description which would list a series of expectations and responsibilities that came along with each position. And somewhere, usually at the bottom, on each of those job descriptions was a clause that stated something like this: Anything else deemed necessary by one’s supervisor.

Now why did that have to be included on the job description? It’s really quite simple. It’s because people are, by nature, inflexible. Our innate bent is to do only what is required and nothing more. You’ve worked with that person–you know the one that is always refusing to do something or complaining about what they are doing because, as they often put it, “It’s not my job!” Maybe you are that kind of person yourself.

The truth, though, is if you are going to be truly valuable to your organization or team over the long haul, you have to get rid of that mentality and, instead, adopt a mentality of flexibility. Flexibility is when one is able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances or conditions. In short, it’s having a can-do attitude. When you are flexible, you adopt the mantra that you will do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if that falls outside the realm of your job description.

Some of the greatest leaders that I have served over the years have been those that adopted this kind of attitude and were willing to go over and above to do whatever it took to get the job done. Sure, they may have been scheduled to serve in the elementary class that morning at church, but we needed an extra set of hands in the nursery that day. All I had to do was ask–and in some cases I didn’t even have to do that–and these people gladly stepped up and got the job done.

You see, when you are flexible, you realize that WE is more important than ME. And when that happens, the team on which you serve will be better and more efficient, the people you serve will be better cared for, and the leader you serve under will be happy. And you will be more fulfilled to boot, knowing that you have done everything possible to help your team reach it’s potential. It’s a win-win-win-win situation. So be flexible and sit back and watch how the Lord blesses you, your leader, and the team on which you serve.

Critical Thinking Question: What are one or two areas in your life in which you could stand to be more flexible? What are you going to do about it?

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