For most of my career as a Sound Tech, I have been really close with the worship leaders I’ve worked with. Most of which I knew before I got the job to mix for. I never realized until recently how important relationship is with those people. On the most recent gig, I came in only knowing some of the congregates who suggested to leadership that they hire me.
You can hire the best Sound Engineer in the world, but if the relationship between the engineer and the people on the stage is not solid and well built, you will likely not be satisfied with the results. On the other hand, if you have a moderately well versed volunteer in the sound booth, but that person has a fantastic relationship with the people on stage, you will likely be hugely successful.
There has to be a unity and a synergy between the booth and the stage. This applies equally to lighting, projection and other tech teams. Building relationship requires time and patience. Many people would expect this to happen overnight, but it doesn’t work that way. Relationship is built outside of when the team is live. It happens in casual conversations before and after rehearsal, over meals and other planned events.
One thing that most leaders do not realize, is that techs are by in large introverted people who tend to be awkward socially. This is why techs are at the back of the room behind a console and not on stage. This is something that I struggle with and sometimes have to force myself to overcome. That being said, relationship building does not fall on the leader solely. Especially if the leader is not experienced. The tech has equal responsibility in building that relationship, no matter how hard and awkward it might be.
A little goes a long way. A compliment after service, or even, an invite to coffee is something that will take you very far. Those are invaluable times when you begin to understand the people you work with and they understand you. Try it! It will change your working life!