The Gift of Affirmation as Encouragement

Posted: August 25, 2010 in Encouragement, Leadership, Team

In real estate, there are three words for success: location, location and location. Although I’ve never bought or sold a property as a realtor, I believe in this rule enough to have moved from a couple of properties. When it comes to successful volunteer team leadership, I think there are three words at the top of the list as well: affirm, affirm and affirm. Affirmation can come in a couple of “big buckets.” Here’s the first:

I.  Affirming the Person

As leaders, it seems obvious that we need to be all about this. Often our team members come from work environments where there’s little encouragement, a lack of recognition and a shortage of real Christian community. Why would they want to give up what little free time they have left to volunteer on a team where these very same values are lacking – the environment’s the same, they just don’t get a check at the end of the day.  Yea, I know all about the fact that their “pay” comes in Heaven.  That doesn’t change a thing about how we’re to value the individuals on our teams.

Are we looking for opportunities to build into our volunteers through affirmation? Have we, as leaders, told them why we appreciate them specifically?  Have we looked them in the eyes and expressed what it is about them that is a God-given expression of their giftedness? Maybe it’s their promptness, the level of excellence they aspire to, the joy they bring to others, their attitude, they’re willingness to give, the way they bring joy to others. The ideas they bring to the ministry, the time they’ve given to our teams and even the difference they’ve made in our lives.

Have we written them and expressed our appreciation in a tangible keepsake? Is their box of encouragement letters empty? Are we teaching others by our actions to do the same?  Are we affirming them with those phone calls that exclude “asks?” How about speaking well of them to others?

Here’s an idea – how about affirming their family members? Not only does that add value to their spouse or family member, but it also brings value to the volunteer as the truth of your affirmation gets back to them.

Notice how all of these commas keep me from being “listy?” The point is that affirmation is a tool in our arsenal against burnout and loss of interest – it’s a key element for encouraging the team members God has entrusted us with until He hands out the final “pay check.”

  1. Ruth says:

    Great blog and thanks for the reminder.You do so well at affirmation and a great example to the rest of us. Thank you!

  2. Julie Smies says:

    Great post Kim – great reminder.

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