Tag Archive - employee

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Why Policies are Bad for your Church

No, I don’t have a policy for that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to share a Staff Handbook, the hiring process I’ve built and use, budgeting policies, board policies or a whole host of other policies someone is looking to implement at their church. Because the majority of my experience in church-world has been in the role of Executive Pastor most people automatically think, “policies and administration.” My real job is to bridge the gap between vision and reality…but that conversation is for another time. While some policies can be useful and helpful (by the way if they aren’t helpful you shouldn’t have them), I’m actually a minimalist when it comes to policies. And here’s a couple of reasons why…

1. Policies Have a Tendency to Shrink Thinking

Policies are rules that shrink the box of creativity, problem solving, and big ideas. Policies set the standard for how we do what we do every time we do it. And that’s fine if we’re on an assembly line making cars. You want consistency in that situation. But disciple making is not the same thing as making cars.

2. Policies are Anti-Leadership Statements

Leaders want to tell, not be told. Leaders want to build, not be confined. Leaders want to move, not be held back. Policies constantly tell people in the organization what they can’t do, and leaders are solution oriented not excuse or problem oriented. A church with a lot of policies will consistently find it difficult to attract and keep good leaders.

3. Policies Punish Everyone

Policies are designed to punish everyone in the organization everyday for something that someone might do someday.

Please don’t mishear me. I’m not saying all policies are bad. Just that I have a tendency to take a minimalist approach. Less is more when it comes to policies in a church. Only put a policy in place if it’s absolutely necessary. And there are only two reasons in my mind that it’s necessary:

#1 Legal Obligation

#2 It Helps you Make the Vision Real

Photo Credit: Vicki & Chuck Rogers via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership

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The Art of Difficult Conversations

If you lead a team long enough, eventually there are going to be some difficult conversations that are going to happen. No one wants to have difficult conversations, there’s nothing fun about them. But if you care about the team and if you care about your teammates then eventually someone is going to need to be confronted. It could be poor work ethic, breaking organizational values, underperformance, misrepresenting the organization, or it could even be a moral or ethical problem just to name a few. But who is the right person to have that difficult conversation when it needs to happen?

1. Who has built the most Trust?

Whoever has the most trust with the individual being confronted needs to lead out in the conversation. If there is any shot at the team member hearing what is being said and responding well to the challenging conversation there must be a foundation of trust. They must know that you care for them, that you believe in them, and that your intentions are pure (otherwise you wouldn’t be having the conversation). Trust gives you the latitude to have a difficult conversation and expect a great response.

2. Who are they going to hear from?

If you care about keeping the team member think about who is going to be the most clear with them in the conversation. I’ve seen countless times when a supervisor confronts or coaches a team member and the two walk away with very different versions of the situation due to the inability of, or discomfort that the supervisor had with clearly delivering challenging news. Clarity is king in confrontation. Make sure whoever is going to say it, says it clearly.

3. Who are they going to respond to?

The goal of confronting a team member is not to have them leave the team. That’s not confrontation or coaching, that’s called firing someone. The goal of confronting a team member is to have them respond in a positive manner to a negative behavior or situation. The goal is behavioral change right? So whom are they going to respond the best to? Let that person have the difficult conversation.

Last Thought: While ideally the team member’s supervisor would be the person who fits these three criteria, that’s not always the case (for a myriad of reasons). So sometimes having someone else in the room leading much of the conversation other than the supervisor isn’t such a bad idea.

Photo Credit: jetheriot via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Global Leadership Summit 2013: Patrick Lencioni

As always Patrick Lencioni delivered! He is consistently one of my favorite speakers on leadership. This year he spoke on ‘How to Lose Your Best People.” You can follow this link to get a copy of  “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” his book that this talk was based on.

  • Leaders are CRO’s Chief Reminder Officer.
  • People need to be reminded more than they need to be instructed.
  • Studies show that people don’t leave their job based on what kind of job it is. It’s not about a good job or a bad job.
  • People leave their jobs because they’re miserable.
  • 3 things that cause job misery
    • #1 Anonymity: the people that we worked for didn’t know us and didn’t have an interest in getting to know us. People hate their jobs when their bosses don’t know anything about them…because they don’t feel like anyone cares about them. It’s your job as a leader to get to know your people and care about your people. Nobody wants to be anonymous. Good people don’t leave jobs where they’re known. Really good people want to work at a place where they’re known.
      • Sometimes we don’t do it because we’re busy
      • Sometimes we don’t do it because we’re embarrassed (because we haven’t done it before)
      • If you aren’t interested in people that’s fine, just get a job as an individual contributor you shouldn’t be managing or leading people.
      • If you’re in a job where you’re not getting this from your boss, give it to them, lead up, they’re probably not getting it from their boss.
  • #2 Irrelevance: If you don’t think that your job matters to someone you cannot love your work. You’ve got to remind them because they forget. If their job truly doesn’t matter then reorganize the job.
  • #3 Immeasurement: Everyone wants to be able to assess if they’re doing a good job. If they don’t know if they’re doing a good job they’ll eventually leave. There’s a higher job satisfaction among sales people because they know if they’re winning. People want to know if they’re winning:
    • When we give others the ability to measure their performance we lose the power/control
  • Money is a satisfier these 3 things are motivators

Posted in Leadership

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What does my Pastor want from me?

Ask a Church Staff Member what they want out of their Lead Pastor, then turn and ask the Lead Pastor what they think their Staff wants out of them and you just might be surprised at the in-congruence of the answers; then again, maybe not. I recently taught a couple of breakouts at a conference where I had the opportunity to interact with a bunch of Ministry Staff Members. Many of them were quick to identify what they were hoping to get out of their Lead Pastor. We were even able to build a quick grocery list of their top frustrations they had with their Lead Pastor. However when the table was turned and I asked the question, “What do you think your Lead Pastor wants from you?” it was easy to see that most Ministry Staff Members haven’t spent much time wrestling through the idea. As a Ministry Staff Member, have you ever stopped to consider that other than keeping numbers going up and to the right and keeping complaints about your ministry to a minimum, that your Pastor may actually be hoping to get more from you than what’s on your job description? You may have never thought about it much…but below are four things that your Pastor is hoping to get from you:

Continue Reading…


Posted in Leadership, Staffing