Not THAT F word.
A friend of mine shared the story about how Christmas worked at their home when they were growing up. Their parents, I mean Santa Claus, wanted to make sure that there were no signs of favoritism shown to any of the family's children, so every child's Christmas presents cost the same amount... down to the penny. The upside of this approach was that every child was equally loved, financially, but it also led to some interesting (slightly irrelevant) choices in gifts that were given.
While the thought behind this idea is a good one, not wanting to play favorites or make anyone feel less loved, the execution was a little awkward. I fear that there are times where we lead our teams in the same way. In an attempt to ensure that we aren't playing favorites or making anyone feel unimportant, we introduce an F word that ultimately hurts our teams. We attempt to be fair in everything that we do.
In order to make sure that everyone knows they are equally special, we handle birthdays, budgets, and expectations the same way. While the goal is a noble one, making everyone feel valued, the result is often disappointing. When we counsel or have evangelistic conversations with people we instinctively know that we need to have different conversations in every situation. People are wired differently, have different wants, needs, desires, and wirings. If we ignore this when it comes to leading our team, we lose our ability to truly inspire them in a way that makes their heart sing.
The bottom line is this: we need to be relationally savvy enough to know how to motivate our teams in a way that speaks to the individual. This may mean that our expectations on how deadlines, workloads, and office hours are different for different members of our team. Expecting our worship pastor to work the same way as our business administrator does, is asking for a frustrated creative. As we lead our teams, the responsibility is ours to develop a deep enough relationship to understand what makes them tick, and lead them in a way that allows them to thrive.