So one morning I was at a ward Activities meeting (back when we had such things as activities). I was newly called to the committee. As we were making assignments, I asked if we should assign some tasks to Sister T, who was also on the committee but wasn’t present.
“No,” they said. “She never comes to our meetings and though she says she wants assignments, when we give them to her, it always ends up that she drops the ball in the end. So we quit assigning stuff to her.”
They weren’t mean or accusatory, just matter of fact. Hmm. Now as it happened, I was Sister T’s visiting teacher and I was visiting her just after the committee meeting ended.
While I was visiting her, I brought up the fact that she wasn’t at the meeting and that we had made assignments for some upcoming fun event.
She said, “Well, they never invite me to the meetings and they never give me assignments, so I stopped going.”
So here you go. What is the solution? We have a group of women who think one of their committee isn’t wanting to work and the person in question believes they are being ignored by the committee.
First, it is important to realize that communication is always the issue. Okay, communication and pride. Let’s look at all this from all sides, shall we? I have been on both sides of this situation. I have been the gung-ho leader AND the forgetful plebian and each time, I have learned much. I have served under good leaders and poor leaders. I have successfully served and unsuccessfully served.
But, there are easy steps for everyone to ensure the easiest and most successful event or assignment. If, in fact Sister T dropped the ball on every occasion, find out why. Don’t just let the dropped ball pass and not follow-up on why? A phone call or a chat in the church hall is required.
“So, Sister T, you were assigned to bring the plates, bowls, and forks to the barbecue. We ended up having to use the china in the cupboards. What happened? Did you forget? Don’t worry, you weren’t the only one.”( ’cause you know that’s right!)
Hopefully she’ll tell you why. Maybe the assignment was too big or she just simply forgot. If she forgot then offer her your cell number so she can text you next time. Maybe Sister T is in need of a little service herself!
If you are the leader or assistant leader, by golly try to be organized, you will only be in this calling a little while, try to put in some effort. Keep a list, yes even on paper, of who is assigned what AND their address/handle/number/hashtag for every form of communication they use. Text, email, Snapchat, whatever. A few days before the assigned event, make sure all the people on your list who have tasks are reminded. Then, the day before, remind them again. Unless you get a positive response that they are on their task, assume they will NOT be on it and make secondary arrangements. Really, if, after repeated attempts at communication, you get no response from your person, assume that they are not on it. Arrange for plates, bowls and forks by some other avenue.
Also, when making assignments, You can restrict assignments when you have someone volunteering to do something you don’t think they can do. If someone wants to make six dozen rolls for a party and you know they can barely cook for themselves, maybe assign them 2 dozen and the remaining rolls to someone else. It only makes sense. If Sister T says she’s bringing 4 lasagnas -the only lasagnas, and she gets the flu the day before, what is the plan? Spread around the work. That’s the point. Many hands make like work, right?
And, no matter what, never stop inviting your members to the meetings or events and if you are on a committee, by golly don’t take on tasks you have no reasonable chance of performing. Don’t offer to get plates, bowls and forks at Sam’s if you don’t have a Sam’s card! Don’t offer to pick up the cake if you don’t have a car! You can’t bake 6 dozen rolls, but you like the idea of making 2 dozen. Say that! Maybe you can’t bake but you are great at throwing in a bunch of ingredients in your crockpot on your way to work. Volunteer for a chili! If you are on a committee, DO participate in the committee meetings, even if it is only to give your opinion. “Ladies, this month I’m slammed and can’t even get myself dressed in the mornings, I can’t do anything more this month than give my opinion.” Be upfront and honest. Reclining on your couch with your hand melodramatically draped over your forehead in self pity over your busy month while your committee is having a meeting 4 blocks away, does nothing for anyone, even you.
I was able to serve on a committee under one of my favorite people. At our first meeting, she announced out loud that she was uncomfortable with leading because she wasn’t much fun, or a party person or a people organizer. However, as it turned out, she was a lot of fun and though her activities were simple, they were awesome. Another woman was called as Activity leader that I knew to be grouchy and disorganized and I wondered how that was going to work out. Grouchy by day, Mormon party animal by night! Her little known talents shined through and her activities were also great. Remember, you were called to the committee for a reason. Maybe you’ll have a chance to use the 4 dozen leis in that box in your basement when YOU recommend the ward host a Luau!.