Tip for Unit Leaders: When Multiple Organizations Request the Same People for Callings, Have a Meeting with Leaders to Explore Options

Today my wife praised our recently released bishop’s method of handling conflicts in calling requests. She just learned about this technique and was thrilled at the simple beauty of it. Conflicts in calling requests occur frequently and often lead to disappointment and frustration. For example, when a new woman moves into the ward or branch, the Young Women, the Primary, and the Relief Society may all make a prayerful request for the same person to be part of their organization. At least two and sometimes three of the competing organizations will be disappointed when their request is denied. Sometimes leaders of some organizations feel that most of  their requests are denied, and this can lead to frustration and a sense of neglect or unfair treatment. 

But the technique of our recently released bishop helps prevent such problems. When there was a conflict, he would have a meeting with the organization leaders and discuss the calling requests he had and work together to determine what positions would be the best ones for the individuals under consideration. Openly discussing the people and the needs of the organizations tended to lead to harmony and clarity regarding the right places for people, and leaders would feel that they were respected and rather than neglected. My wife said that in her many years in leadership positions in many wards and branches,  she had never experienced this. 

I am also impressed by this approach. It seems so obvious in retrospect and so consistent with the emphasis on councils in the Church, but I’ll admit that I didn’t do things that way when I was a bishop long ago, and haven’t seen this clearly being done as far as I can tell in other units I’ve been in. Is it more widespread than we think? 

We have a lot of praise for our current and past bishops, but my wife might be somewhat biased about the young former bishop that she was praising today, who happens to be one of our sons. Biased or not, we think his approach sounds like one that other units may wish to consider. 

Author: Jeff Lindsay

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