Posted by: Nathan | June 7, 2010

Rearview Mirror pt4 :: Leading Leaders

Here are three things I learned this past year about Leading Leaders.

1.) Learn from Criticism

As leaders we face criticism on a daily – if not hourly or minute-by-minute – basis. Everyone around us has better ideas for worship, small groups, evangelism, or fall t-shirt’s. In my role as Staff Leader I receive criticism about not only how I lead, but also from the staff about how our interns are falling short and from our interns about how the staff is not hearing their ideas.  I’m caught in the crossfire!

It’s really easy for me to internalize this criticism.  It crippled me many times this year.  It’s still something I’m processing.  But I’ve begun to realize that criticism of each other is not an inditement of my leadership (or lack there of), but it comes from a desire to see each other do our best.  My role is not to fix everyone, but to help each member of our staff reach their fullest potential within their relationship with Christ and their given role in the ministry. When they fall short of a goal that means we need to talk about what happened and put steps in place for them to fulfill their aspirations the next time.

Their failure is not not the end of the world!  It is merely a speed bump in their journey in ministry and in Christ.

2.) Be Specific

I am task oriented.  Give me a responsibility and within 5 minutes I’ll have a list of everything that needs to be done to complete the task and all possible problems we may encounter along the way.  I hate to be micromanaged and told how to do my job.  If I need help, I’ll ask – otherwise let me work!

My strength is also my weakness!  My problem is that I assume everyone to have this ability to plan, organize, and problem solve.  When I give a task to a member of the staff, an intern or a student leader, I assume they can see it from beginning to end, and if they have a problem they will ask me for a solution.

This is not the reality!  Many times they get off course of what I envisioned or they simply become frustrated and quit.

Part of raising up strong leaders is giving up control while giving guidelines for the project you give them.  Young leaders need a bold vision for what they’re doing so they have an effective way to measurehas been accomplished and what still needs to be done.

3.) Boundaries Provide Freedom

We all need boundaries.  Whether it’s giving away responsibility so we don’t work ourselves to death, specific campus hours so we aren’t lazy, support raising goals so we don’t settle for too little – we all need lines in the sand that give structure to our ministry.

Without boundaries we’re left to guess about what is too much and what’s too little.  Our former Board Chairman Scott Johnson told us at our first Board meeting that his desire wasn’t to give the staff specific guidelines, but rather to give us ‘sidelines’ to run within.  As long as we stayed inbounds and kept moving forward he would be happy.

That’s my goal with the staff and interns.  We need sidelines to run within, but within that field of play there is great freedom!  Freedom to create and dream within each of our individual areas of ministry and as long as our main goals are being met – growing deeper with God and building an intentional community – then we are being faithful to what God has called us to.


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