One of many lessons I’ve learned working at a church – specifically in the tech production role – is that you will work with people more than you will work with equipment. While we use equipment and technology, its purpose is to make people better, which interprets into working and communicating with people daily.
Realizing this, I began my pursuit of better understanding myself and my teams and those we interact heavily with. If you’ve ever taken a personality test like Myers Briggs or Strengths Finder or used something like the role preference assessment, they can be revealing and sometimes hard to swallow – seeing the truth about yourself… your strengths and especially your weaknesses. I thought I would give just a few personalities of a typical tech person to help better understand them (us). But instead of all the technical languages of all the different tests and having to know those – I thought I would put it in more stereotypical verbiage.
- The No Personality
One of the things I learned the hard way early on is that my brain doesn’t process ideas the same way a traditional creative mind does. When hearing an idea, I have to go through every reason why something won’t work before I say it can work. This is a great personality trait to have when you’re the one responsible for making the flying trapeze on the church stage work. You want to be extremely thorough and go through every scenario – why it could or would fail – before you can come to the conclusion that it will be okay.
The problem is, when you’re sitting in a brainstorm meeting with senior staff and they are riddling off idea after idea, your brain can’t keep up with thinking through all the pros and cons, so you get overloaded and start saying no to everything. If you’re a non-tech person, you need to understand we need space (time) to process the idea. If you’re a tech person, you need to understand that it’s just an idea and, in a brainstorm meeting, it’s the process of ideas that lead to other ideas, which get you to the final idea. If we are going to sit in the meeting, we can’t stop the process until an idea is settled on – then we can go through our process. Otherwise we stop the creative process of ideas flowing.
2. The Rules Person
Most tech people are rule followers. There have to be rules for things to function and be consistent. Again, it’s another great personality trait, but it also has its negative side. The positives are that we put the rules in to protect valuable things so people can use them for ministry. But sometimes we push for the rule more than the purpose.
For example: It’s not a secret we like our tech gear. So we buy all this gear for the church to use, but then we put all these rules on it so no one can ever use it. Why? Because they might break it or it’s too complicated to use. So the gear that was bought to do church sits unused for most of the week, because people are not allowed to use it. The purpose of the equipment is to do ministry with it – it’s not the reason we have church.
Now I know all the conversations that are going through your head right now: youth ministry is irresponsible, people don’t take the time to learn how to use it, etc. I didn’t say it would be easy, but I don’t think our black and white, protector, rule follower personality should be the reason equipment can’t be used for all ministry. We need to figure out how more ministries can use it or buy equipment that is easier to use for all.
3. The Easily Distracted Personality
We just want to help. We love troubleshooting and fixing problems. Usually more than just doing our regular job. So when we are on our way to do a task or job on our list and someone stops us and says, “Hey I’m having a problem with a system in my room,” we stop what we are doing and jump in to help. This is a great trait to have and so beneficial – especially in ministry. The problem is we might have a list 30 items long, and by the end of the week, we didn’t do any of them. We like fixing problems, but not every problem is the most important or highest priority; yet because we like to figure things out it’s appealing to us. We also like pleasing and helping others, so that too pulls us from our list. We have to be careful, because weeks and years of helping others can lead to burnout – when we look back to see our important work has all piled up and we feel like we are drowning, never having enough time.
These are just a few of our personality traits that describe who we are. All great, but they can have pitfalls if we don’t understand ourselves or if others don’t understand us. If we can learn where we need to be self-aware, we can avoid potential conflict and misunderstanding that inevitably happens when we are misunderstood or don’t understand others.