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TIPS FOR MANAGING A CREW


volunteer, working
Don't forget to make it fun!

In my lifetime I have seen many occasions where a large job needed to be done and the person who was put in charge of the work crew was chosen because they themselves were a hard worker. However, often that hard worker tried to do everything themselves resulting in the other workers standing around, the job taking two or three times longer than necessary and the leader becoming overwhelmed and overworked. All because there was no understanding of how to manage a crew. So I'm going to give a few tips that anyone can follow for success.

First ask yourself, "How do I know when the job is done?" Write out all the things that must be accomplished to say it's done.

Secondly, make a list not only of what must be done but in what areas it must be done as well.

Thirdly, divide the parts into separate small jobs and decide who to give each to and in what order the steps must be done. Delegate! Don't Do!

Fourthly, you as the manager take on one of the smaller jobs so you are working with your crew but can be free to go check on and help others if they get confused or stuck.

The Fifth step is to require that your crew members notify you when they think their job is done. You will immediately go and check that it is thoroughly finished. In order to train your crew for greater efficiency in the future, don't tell them what YOU see. Ask them what THEY see in that corner or on that counter so they learn to actually SEE the job.

Number Six is very important and that is to reward initiative, accuracy with details and speed in accomplishment. A reward can be a verbal acknowledgment of their actions, a small treat (mini candy bars work well) or sometimes letting them take a ten minute break while others are working. Rewards must be spread around. You must not have a favorite. You may have to look very hard to find something to reward for some crew members but do it anyway. Rewards motivate. Even God uses rewards for those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). And rewards should be done in front of others to motivate them as well.

The last step or tip for running a crew is to find ways to make it fun! At Miracle Mountain Ranch our staff used to prepare and freeze several hundred gallons of applesauce together. This was a long and arduous job. But following these seven steps made it faster as well as fun. the stations after everyone picked the apples all together were 1) cutting and taking off the apple buds and filling big pots with the quartered apples. 2) Add water and cook the apples on the stove until soft. 3) Put the apples through food milts to make the sauce. 4) Ziploc bag the sauce. 5) Put the bags in the freezer. Each step had it's own crew. Everyone helped cut apples until the first pots were filled. Then a crew broke off to cook the apples. Next, another crew broke off to sauce the apples and so each step followed until all areas were busily at work. All the while we were working, various ones told funny stories that made us laugh or we would do short competitions like I can fill my pot with cut apples before you do. Sometimes someone would break out in singing a favorite camp song and we all joined in. The work was hard but we really had fun working together. The job was done when the last bag of applesauce was neatly in the freezer and the kitchen and all utensils were cleaned and put away. Then we left for our homes hollering words of thanks to each other and to God for His provision for next summer camp time.

Make your plan, communicate clearly, stick to it and make changes for improvement next time. This gives security to your crew. And don't forget to make it fun in some way!


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