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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Be intentional take time to teachcomment (0)

September 2, 2010

By Jean Roberson


Melissa was fresh out of college and eager to get started. Throughout her academic studies, she excelled in the classroom and was a recognized leader in civic organizations. She knew how to make decisions. Now she was heading off to her first full-time job. 

When Melissa arrived, the office was very busy. There was a great deal going on, and everyone was consumed with accomplishing his or her tasks. Melissa’s supervisor met her that day, spent some time introducing her to the staff, sent her to human resources for orientation and took her to lunch. It was a good morning. That afternoon, though, he showed Melissa her desk and handed her a manual. He told her to read the manual and become familiar with her responsibilities. That was the last she saw of him for a couple of days. 

Excited and skilled, Melissa read the manual and throughout the next few months, she tried to do a good job. However, she began a project only to discover she had not involved everyone who needed to be involved. So she was reprimanded, her co-workers grew frustrated and she had to begin the project again. Another time, she completed a project well only to discover she had not fully followed internal procedures. So she had to fix the problems caused by the oversight.

The problem was that Melissa did not know who needed to be involved and the internal procedures to follow. In fact, there was quite a bit she did not know because her supervisor never took the time to teach her. Eventually Melissa left the organization. She was frustrated and the organization was frustrated.

Because no one in the organization took the time to walk beside and teach her, Melissa was set up to fail. We do the same thing with new Christians. We expect them to succeed without ever teaching them how to succeed and building the disciplines in them necessary to succeed — disciplines such as personal Bible study and participating in a faith community. They are set up to fail.

Whether we are talking about new Christians or new co-workers, one fact remains: We have to commit ourselves to teaching those around us who are new to any place or task.

We must intentionally schedule time with someone new, make ourselves available for questions, purposefully get involved with initial decisions and show the person how to do things. Otherwise our lack of involvement sets the person up to fail. 

A Takeaway Value …
Investing time in teaching a newcomer ensures his or her success and ours.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.

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