Tag Archive - expectations

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How Great Church Leaders Lead Up

Most young church leaders I talk to want to learn about how they grow as a leader, be more effective and gather a larger following. I love their zeal and ambition to go and do big things for God!

But one of the most overlooked leadership tactics that young church leaders need to learn is leading up. And this is one of the keys that separate good church leaders from great church leaders.

Great church leaders know that they’re responsible not only to lead those under their care, but also to lead their peers and perhaps most importantly those who are above them. Here’s a few ways they do that well.

#1 Expectation Management

No leader likes to be surprised. So, communicate early and often. Managing the expectations of your Lead Pastor is an essential tool for leading up. Scripture teaches us that, “hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.” In other words, when you mismanage the expectations of your leader you are actually leading their heart in a direction that will create disappointment, frustration, and even “sickness.” None of that is going to work out well for you. So, learn to set expectations for your leader and follow through on those expectations. They’ll love you for it.

#2 Bring Solutions to the Table

No leader wants to do your job for you, that’s why you’re there. Soliciting your Lead Pastor’s input can be helpful to learn their preferences or their style. And when you encounter something new or difficult and you really need their input and help, certainly go and get it. But I’d suggest leading with a couple of solutions to whatever it is you’re facing. This will let them know that you are solution oriented, that you take initiative, and you’re not just looking for someone to tell you what to do. This helps your leader know that they can trust you to think and make good decisions in the scope of ministry that you’re responsible for at your church.

#3 Support Publicly and Question Privately

No leader likes to be hit by, “friendly fire.” One of the fastest ways to lose trust the opportunity to privately influence your leader is to not support them publicly. Appropriately disagree all you want behind closed doors, that’s part of the process of getting to good decisions organizationally. But once the decision is made you’ve got to be 100% committed to it. When Church Members (or other Staff Members) complain to you, you cannot respond by saying, “I can see how you feel that way,” unless you redirect from there. You can’t in any way validate their criticism or they’ll think that you agree with them and it will lead to divisiveness in the Church. Someone in the Body will end up saying, “Well I spoke to so and so, who is on Staff and they don’t agree with it either.” When that happens there is division in the Body and the Enemy wins. And by the way, eventually you’ll lose.

#4 Carry the Vision

No leader wants to carry the vision alone. Leaders and Pastors that have to carry the vision alone lose. Most churches never reach their full potential because the vision ends up somehow being relegated to just one person. This limits everything because vision cannot be sustained through only one person. It has to be embraced and carried forward by everyone on the team. Your Lead Pastor can’t be the only one talking about the vision. When it comes to casting vision your Lead Pastor is looking for you to embrace, own, contextualize, and communicate the vision of the Church in the area of responsibility that has been entrusted into your care. You may not be the vision caster in the church, but make no mistake about it, you are a vision carrier. A great daily question to ask yourself is: “What did I do today to cast vision for the Church?”


Posted in Leadership

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Why Leading by Example doesn’t Work

Leading by example sounds like the right thing to do, doesn’t it? After all thousands of pages written on leadership, by leadership experts can’t be wrong can they? The problem is you can’t lead by example. Your example may inspire others, it may set behavioral standards for others, your example may even be a prerequisite for authentic leadership, but your example doesn’t actually lead others anywhere. Instead great leaders set the example and then hold the team accountable to the standard. The secret is in the accountability…not the example.

Set Expectations Often & Early

The earlier you state expectations and the standard with a team member the clearer everyone will be on deliverables. Without clearly stated expectations you end up surprising and frustrating team members when you hold them accountable to outcomes they were unaware of.

Don’t Micromanage

Micromanagement discourages production and results instead of encouraging it. Team members tend to resist and rebel against leaders who micromanage them no matter what kind of “example” they are setting in the workplace.

Follow Through

Do what you say you’re going to do. Reward team members who perform well and correct those who don’t. Follow through and hold team members accountable to the standard.

Coach those who want to be Coached

Not everyone on your team wants to be coached, even though you may feel they need coaching. So spend time coaching team members who are coachable. Don’t waste your time investing precious time into people who can’t or won’t take coaching.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Church Leaders

It’s much easier to identify poor leadership in others than it is in yourself. We have a tendency to judge our leadership based on our intentions and the leadership of other based on the results.

An old Russian Proverb says it this way, “The eye cannot see the eye.”

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to observe all kinds of different Church Leaders who are leading in different sizes and “flavors,” churches. No matter the size or the flavor of the church I’ve seen the following 7 habits come up over and over again. So in no particular order, here are 7 common bad habits I’ve seen in Church Leaders over the years:

1. Crosstalk and Triangulation

I’ve seen far too many times where the dynamics of the church staff are such that staff talk about one another instead of to one another. Usually this is because it’s allowed and even modeled by the Lead Pastor. Biblically (Matthew 18) the scriptures would teach us that if you have an issue with your brother then you go to them, not someone about them. One path is a leadership path, the other is a political path.

2. Dictatorship

We have a saying at the Unstuck Team: “The Team Outperforms the Individual Every Time!” When the Lead Pastor takes a dictatorial approach to decision making and the direction of the church everyone loses. The young Staff lose out because no one delegates tasks that give them the opportunity to learn to lead, the Sr. Staff lose out because they’re not empowered to make decisions which will ultimately result in losing your best team members, and the whole church loses out because no Lead Pastor is as good alone as they are with a great team, no matter how much of a superstar they are.

3. Unclear Expectations

When expectations are unclear it always leads to frustration, disappointment, and let down. It’s true in our more important relationships and it’s true in leadership. Lead Pastors can set their teams up for success by drawing a clear target on the wall and agreeing to and writing down clear, attainable and measurable goals.

4. Micromanagement

Some Lead Pastors are so insecure that they’re incapable of trusting their teams. They feel as though they have to control every aspect of what’s going on in the church, no matter how small. This kind of leader ends up building a team that is incapable of thinking for themselves, which will become a huge barrier to the movement of the Gospel! The first step in combating micromanagement is delegation and the next is empowerment.

5. Hiring Friends

I’ve seen teams go south because a Lead Pastor hires friends instead of the best-qualified candidate for the role. When the vision is trumped by the convenience of friendship it begins to erode trust on the team and trust is the fuel that leadership runs on.

6. Lack of Moral Authority

Nothing is more demoralizing for a staff team than when the Lead Pastor takes a, “Do as I say not do as I do” approach. A simple example of this is when a Pastor says it’s important for everyone to be in a small group but won’t be in a group themselves.

7. Unresolved Conflict

When the Lead Pastor doesn’t keep short accounts and instead allows unresolved conflict to exist it can lead to serious dysfunction on a team. Small gaps between Sr. Leaders at the top appear as huge chasms the further down you get from the Sr. Leadership Team.

What other habits of ineffective Church Leaders have you observed? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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How to Manage the Tension between Work and Rest

In the beginning, even before the fall of mankind, God created both work and rest (you can check out Genesis 1-3 for all the details). Both were helpful, both were holy, and both were enjoyed by and benefited man. After the fall of mankind everything was messed up, including mankind’s ideas and inclinations about work and rest. This tension still plagues us today, including church leaders. Our tendency in different seasons of leadership is to lean into one or the other more than we are designed to. And if not caught early it can do damage to our souls and ultimately the ministries that we are charged with leading.

Work

  • Personal ambition: When our ambition for growth as church leaders surpasses our ambition for God, there’s a problem.
  • High Expectations: When fast-charging and high-driving church leaders have set their vision and expectations higher for themselves and their ministries than God does, there’s a problem.
  • Selfish Gain: When we become consumed by our work and our identity as church leaders becomes rooted in our work rather than in God, there’s a problem.

Rest

  • Discouragement: When church leaders fall into discouragement and shrink back because things aren’t going the way they think they should be going, there’s a problem.
  • Emotional Weight: When church leaders pick up and begin to carry the emotional weight of the team, the outcomes of the vision, and the expectations of people in the church, there’s a problem.
  • Laziness: When church leaders over spiritualize the concepts of faith and dependency upon the Holy Spirit to work and avoid working hard themselves, there’s a problem.

When our hearts call too much for one or the other, something is off in us. We’ve been chasing after something that we were never intended to pursue. It should be an indicator to us that it’s time to return to the mission and return to God.

Photo Credit: CyboRoZ via Compfight cc


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation