Monday, June 20, 2011

Becoming an authentic leader-Part 2

6. Leaders invest in others through coaching. 
Leaders come alongside people and help them get better at what they do. Everyone does better with a coach than they do on their own. A good coach starts with what a player can already do and builds on it. No football coach spends time teaching a quarterback how to tackle. That’s not the quarterback’s job. A wise football coach doesn’t want each player to be equally good at every position. A wise football coach wants to make each player outstanding at whatever position that player fills. There are some fundamentals that everyone needs to know—the rules, how to catch, how to throw. But that’s about it. What do your individual volunteers do well? Do you know? What’s your individualized development plan for each volunteer in your ministry? There’s no shortcut for leaders when it comes to coaching others. You have to do it. Coaching is a powerful way to affirm, challenge, and motivate. If you’re not coaching, you’re not leading. Take time now to write a Development Plan for each of the people who report directly to you in your ministry. Is it easy? No—but good coaching never is.
If you’re coaching well, you’ll hear yourself asking this question as you watch different team members do ministry: “What’s that person doing well? What can I do to help that person improve?” If you’re not asking that question, there’s no way your team will get to the next level. You’ll be missing coaching opportunities.

7. Leaders take appropriate risks.
During my first few years in children’s ministry, back in the 70’s, we didn’t have the money to send me to conferences. I’m glad, because if I’d gone I would have been told what I wanted to do was impossible. You see, we had seven kids in our ministry. (six normal kids and a little boy named Bubba) We wanted more kids. And we wanted kids to understand how our church worked. I asked the Lord what we should do and it seemed clear we were supposed to involve our kids in helps ministries. So in children’s church we plugged kids in as deacons, and we got kids involved in service. Pretty soon we had more than 300 kids and I was asked to speak at those conferences I hadn’t attended. So I showed up and made my little presentation and there were all sorts of confused faces. It turned out that there is no way what we’d done was supposed to work and people were lined up to let me know it. But I went home and sure enough—there it was. Working. I’m so glad I listened to the Lord instead of the “thus sayeth the Seminar Speaker.” Was what we did risky? If we’d done it on our own, yes. But since we were following the direction of the Lord, absolutely not. Leaders take calculated risks—and when the Lord tells you to do something that’s not a risk at all. If you’re following God’s leading, your ministry will increase and flourish. The risk that tends to pay off in the most spectacular fashion is when you bet on people. By that I mean you find and train leaders in your ministry and you give them permission to run with the vision. When you’re taking risks it means you’ll try things you’ve never tried. You’ll do things differently. You’ll blaze trails, and take chances. Now and then you’ll go with your gut instead of your intellect. What risks are you taking?

8. Leaders bear fruit and grow spiritually.
Leaders carry more responsibility than followers, and face greater challenges. They have to handle extra stress, extra work, and make do with less than they sometimes they wish they had. Those aren’t ideal conditions for growing. If you want to experience growth and bear fruit while you’re a leader, I suggest you eliminate three poisons that tend to creep into leaders’ lives. They are:

Those of us who minister to children can experience envy with the best of them. We look at our budget and compare it to what the youth ministry gets. We notice we’re spending more hours at the church than the Senior Pastor, and wonder why we’re not cashing a larger paycheck every Friday. We size up how much influence we have when it’s time to remodel the church building compared to the rest of the staff. And this isn’t just a twinge of jealousy we feel. Jealousy means I want what you have. Envy means I want you to lose what you have so I can have it. And if there’s just so much influence and money to go around, then you’ve got to lose some of yours so I can have it. It’s envy—and it’s poison. When we envy what others have we undermine teamwork. We don’t step up and provide help. We let others go down in flames at board meetings so we look better—and we can increase our influence.
Has envy crept into your life or ministry?

Strife and quarreling
I know children’s workers who speak poorly of their fellow staff members. They gossip and backbite. They talk to lots of people, but never to the person they’re talking about.
The day you hear yourself talking about “us” and “them” when you’re referring to other members of your church, you’re in trouble. There is no “us” and “them”—there’s just “us.” We’re one body so we’ve got to get along. Like it or not, you’re working along side of other staff members at your church. Resolve conflicts, don’t gossip or harbor your anger.
Are you quarreling with other leaders? Experiencing strife?

How you work alongside—and for—other leaders is a hallmark of your leadership. Have you taken conflicts that should have stayed behind closed doors and shared them with others? Always be on the lookout for division. How can you repair any divisiveness you’ve created?

9. Leaders don’t worry about comparisons.
Unless you’re one of the Apostles that Jesus sent out to carry the gospel, you’re not the first leader your church people have ever seen. People aren’t in the church long before they realize that pastors come and go. And it seems you’re always following one that people liked better than you. Don’t worry about comparisons. You can’t talk your way out of them by pointing out the shortcomings of the person who was on staff before you. You have to do something that helps folks see you for who you are, even if you’re different than your predecessor.
And if someone can get past the past, you can establish your leadership where you are. Give it some time, take some action, and let God work through you. With whom are you comparing yourself? What’s the result? What if you could just put the comparisons aside?

10. Leaders are life long learners.
In many professions there’s a requirement for Continuing Education Units. If you’re a doctor or a nurse and you quit learning, sooner or later your license to practice medicine will be taken away from you. I wish we had something like that in children’s ministry. Children’s ministry, as a field, has way too many know-it-alls in it. People who I’d like to buy for what they’re worth and sell them for what they think they’re worth. People who hit on a successful idea and they’ve never grown past it. The fact is you don’t know it all. I know I don’t. And the people we lead in our children’s ministries are certain we don’t. We’ve all got things to learn, and if you’re not leading the way in learning you can’t expect the people you direct to keep learning and growing either. By “learning” I don’t necessarily mean attending classes or accumulating additional degrees. The place to start is to find a mentor—someone who’s wiser and more experienced than you—and to go ask questions. And to listen to the answers and the questions that come back at you.

Working with a mentor is worth its weight in gold. You’ll not only learn something, but you’ll become teachable. And that’s right where you need to stay.
Read books and blogs. Listen to CD’s and podcasts. Go to workshops and conferences. Find people who know about the things you need to learn and go ask questions. And be sure you talk about what you’re learning to your volunteers. Your example sets a standard: it’s okay to admit you don’t know it all, and it’s good to go find out what you need to know.

My mother taught me this: experience is the best teacher—but it doesn’t have to be your experience.

I visit other churches and learn from their experience. There’s not a big church in my area that I haven’t been in at least once, nosing around to discover what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

Leaders are life-long learners. What have you learned lately? 

No comments:

Post a Comment