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4 Realizations For Managing Interns

During the summer it gets a little crazy in the offices. Not only are there students usually in there because school is out, but we also have quite a few full-time interns come in. It’s fun and crazy and loud most of the time. Last year was my first time really being in charge of any sort of intern. If I had to rank myself, I would give myself a “B” and I want to do better with the one who is going to be under me directly. I have been meeting with some great leaders and asking them about what I need to know when it comes to interns and leading them well. Here are some goals for me as we approach summer:

The internship is more about them learning than it is them helping me out with what I need to do.

  • My first thought when I think intern is less work. That’s a myth. It’s actually more work because in part of the learning process we end up walking next to them or with them through certain things. If interns are just making copies and getting coffee, you are wasting a good intern. For many, an internship is checking out ministry to see if this is a calling in their life. It’s our responsibility to help them determine if it is.

They are my shadow.

  • They go where I go. they do what I do. If I go to lunch with a student or co-worker or leader, they come with me when ever its appropriate. As a supervisor we want to make sure they are getting a 360 degree of ministry. the good, the bad ugly. This is one area I failed in last year and I plan to be more intentional with this year.

Don’t delegate tasks, delegate leadership.

  • Like a mentioned before, an intern can do copies and such, but if this was the main role for the summer, they won’t be better off when they leave. If the internship is more for them then we need to make sure we delegate leadership. Let them run an event from start to finish. Let them take the lead with following up with a student. Let them pray for a student instead of you. If they fail, we can use it as a teaching moment and help them become better pastors.

Debrief a lot.

  • This is another area I don’t think I did well in. This year I want to have weekly debrief meetings talking about the week. Experience is quite the teacher. So when they just got to experience something, it is important we help walk them through and process what just happened. ask lots of questions. Get them talking. Listen carefully. Then coach.

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