Has this ever happened to you…
I send an email on Monday about something that needs to be resolved quickly. No response. I think to myself, “Ok, they’re busy, I’ll give them 48 hours.” Still, no response by Wednesday. It’s still urgent and needs to be resolved. So I send another email with more urgent language. No response after another 48 hours. I try again the following Monday. This time, my email is quick and snappy. I don’t even sign my name. It’s urgent. I need a response. Nothing…for over 2 weeks. I call on the phone. No answer. I visit their office. Not there. They are off-site. Now my urgent concern has become a huge problem and I can’t adequately do my job without fixing it. What do I do now?
Fortunately, this does not happen to me too often, but when it does, I get a little frustrated. It would be one thing if they set an away message and they were gone for a month on vacation. But no away message was left. They’re around. Just too busy. At least too busy for me.
One of my previous supervisors in ministry instilled in me the importance of being responsive. He always told us to respond to every email or call within 24 hours, unless it is the weekend or we’re on vacation. My job is to serve, and if someone calls or emails me, I respond. It’s important.
Since I have decided to work in a field that is about servant leadership, it is my responsibility to be responsive to those I serve. When I respond to someone quickly, it communicates a few things to them:
- That I value them as a person.
- That I value their ministry.
- That I really want to help.
- That I’m here for them.
Being responsive is affirming to those we work with. And sometimes that response is that I need more time to work on it or do some more research, but I’ll get back you soon. This way, they still feel the list above and they know that I’m working on it.
And when we’re not responsive, it communicates the opposite:
- That I don’t value them.
- That I don’t value their ministry.
- That I don’t want to help.
- That I’m not there for them.
If you were on the receiving end of your leadership, which list would you rather feel about your leader? Yes, the first list. Of course. And when a leader is not responsive, that leader loses two important things: respect and trust.
So practice responsiveness. It makes a difference.