Editor’s note: Today, we present Part 4 our summer series that focuses on five different leadership approaches. As you read each installment, try to see how each leadership style (good or bad!) has a place in your ministry. If you have time, discuss each blog with your staff and brainstorm ideas for improving leadership roles throughout your organization. (Be sure to refresh your memory with Parts 1, 2, and 3.)
I Can’t Turn You Loose
If this summarizes your approach to leadership, get over it! And quickly! Otherwise you will find your volunteers and staff growing less and less excited about the vision, less and less committed to excellent execution.
All leaders know the frustration micromanagement causes, and still followers continue to complain that their leaders do it. Why? In part, because we make other leadership mistakes, mistakes that stifle trust and that, thus, make micromanagement inevitable. When we avoid these errors, we go a long way toward helping ourselves let good people (our followers) do the good work they want to do. We also avoid wasting time and effort—our own and everyone else’s.
Specifically, then, you will want to manage this way:
- Get the right volunteers and staff working in the right slots, letting everyone do what he or she does best. What has God gifted the people around you to do? You may want to give a spiritual gifts inventory, if you have not done so in a while. But you will want to go well beyond that, using other tools as well. Ask yourself what each person has done well in the past. What training or experience does each individual have—professionally and in other volunteer positions? What does each volunteer like to do? Our interests have a way of reflecting our giftedness. Determining everyone’s gifts, interests, and abilities will take time, but it will be time well spent.
- Cultivate a deep and very specific understanding of the vision you’ve set and the values you treasure. Help followers see these as guideposts, as a lighthouse in the distance guiding them to port and helping them to avoid the rocks and reefs that might scuttle the vision. To use another metaphor, farmers pick a fixed point in the distance and drive toward it; it’s the only way to plow a straight furrow. Help your volunteers to do the same.
- Work with every volunteer and staff person until they clearly see the specifics of the contribution you hope they will make. Keep this simple by focusing on ends, not on means. You want them to devise the means. If you have the right people with the right gifts in the right slots, they will know even better than you do which means will best accomplish the purposes you set for them.
- Make sure each worker has the tools and other resources needed to accomplish his or her part of the goal. Be available if new needs arise. Give the information and affirmation each person needs to do a superb job.
- Pray daily for each worker, make yourself available for questions and encouragement, and then get out of the way.
Turn folks loose to do their best work, to make their best contribution!