Communication Leadership Making Church Matter

Some Things I Want My Staff To Know

August 24, 2009

We are going to take some time as a staff to sit down before we launch the fall season and take a careful look at how we are working together as a team.  To get ready for that discussion I am looking at what I need from my staff and what they need from me.  Here are a few notes, in no particular order.

1. Do your job

It was amazing to me, when I first came to this Church, to realize that some of the staff at that time, as well as some subsequent staff I hired, just didn’t-wouldn’t-couldn’t do their job.  Job number one is doing the job you are paid to do, showing up when you’re suppose to be here, and taking responsibility for what is your responsibility.

2. A positive attitude creates the environment for success

Everybody is entitled to a bad day, anyone can be down once in a while.  But the day in, day out attitude of Christ-followers, and therefore of Church leaders must be, as Scripture tells us, the attitude of Christ (Philippians 2:5).  What was his attitude?  Well, Scripture tells us he adapted an attitude of humility.  What does humility look like? It actually looks pleasant, and kind and positive.  There is just no room on our staff for “attitude” that is not positive.  Believe me, I know what it’s like living with a staff member who has a bad attitude.  It is no fun and it makes everybody’s job a lot harder. In fact, it can be draining and demoralizing.  A positive attitude is uplifting and encouraging for everyone and it is also God honoring.

3. “Can do” people help fulfill the vision

A Pastor or leader needs “can do” people around him…when he is casting vision or launching a new initiative he doesn’t need people rolling their eyes and making groaning noises and trying to play “devils advocate.”  (By the way, the devil doesn’t need any help.) A “can do” attitude is a “if it can be done we’ll do it” attitude that makes things happen.  It is really great as a Pastor to know there are people working for me who are going to reliably demonstrate this attitude in the face of any challenge or change or problem or opportunity.

4. Be honest with me/protect me 

A leader gets criticism all the time (if he’s really leading). Criticism is not honesty, even if it is sometimes on target, it’s just someone’s negative view.  A leader needs truth from people he trusts. Having a staff you trust and building in the right opportunities for those people to be honest with you is essential to continued growth and health for the leaders and the organization.

At the same time, I need people to protect me, to have my back.  Because I represent the organization, because I’m in charge, I am target number one for criticism, angry critics and the crazies that are inevitably coming our way.  And then there are the people Jesus promised us would come to attack us precisely because we are working for him.  So I need as much cover and protection as the people around me can provide, people willing to stand up and fight when the battles come.

5. Be honest with me/help me protect you

If something is going to go wrong…and you know it’s going to go wrong before hand…tell me.  Don’t let me get caught in a situation that you knew was going to happen…but didn’t tell me about out of fear or lack of responsibility or whatever.  If you make a stupid mistake…don’t hide it from me. Tell me…because someone will …and when they do I want to be able to let them know that you personally came to me and I know all about it. Help me protect you.

6. Please get along

One of the most frustrating things for a Pastor or leader is to have to deal with staff members who refuse to act like grown ups and feel the need to resort to name calling and comparison with other staff members. As a leader I don’t have time to try to help my staff act with maturity. Everyone is an adult and is on a team and needs to act like it: no “silo” ministries, no unhealthy competition, no in fighting.  And there is also absolutely no room for gossip.  Zero tolerance on gossip.

(More on this next week)





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