By James Scott Jr. June 3, 2022
There’s more to leading other leaders in the church than “vision-casting” or playing cheerleader. There are practical steps every senior leader can take to directly contribute to the success of the leaders they lead.
Avoid starting with a mistake …
One of the most common failures many senior leaders make in their leadership of other leaders is launching a person into their leadership role without an adequate orientation to their new position, which is a perfect way to get off to a bad start.
Here are five steps a senior leader can take to get the leaders they lead off to a good start via an orientation process:
1. Clearly define the “organizational” mission and vision. The mission of the church, as provided directly by Jesus Christ, is to make disciples; the vision of church leadership is how that local church body will go about executing that mission. That can vary among local church bodies, and new leaders need to understand exactly what the vision of the church as a whole is so they can understand their part in helping to achieve it.
2. Assure the new leader’s vision is in alignment with the mission and vision of the church. It’s not enough to communicate what the mission and vision of the church is. Senior leaders need to ensure the new leaders they bring aboard have a vision for their area of ministry that is in alignment with the mission and vision of the church they are coming into. This seems like a “given,” but many senior leaders only assume this about other leaders, only to later discover the new leader has a vision of ministry that doesn’t fit with what the larger church body is pursuing.
3. Set parameters. Every leader needs the freedom to lead their area of ministry. But each ministry has its own parameters, and the new leader needs to understand what they are. A leader needs to know the perimeter of their area of responsibility, how far they can go, where they can expand, and where to stop. Senior leaders who fail to set parameters when orienting new leaders often have a new leader they later have to rein in.
4. Clearly communicate expectations. It is unfair to hold someone accountable for expectations that have not been clearly communicated to them. As part of the orientation process, make sure new leaders clearly understand:
- precisely what will be expected of them;
- how the results of their work will be measured;
- when the results of their work will be measured;
- and what will be done with the measurement of the results of their work, even if the results are positive (for example, if their work has brought about better than expected results, the leader may challenge them to a greater vision, etc.).
5. Complete pre-launch preparations. Make sure the new leader receives any training that is needed (as simple as how to use the church’s computer software and telephone system, budgeting processes, general operations, or specific material or curriculum being used, etc.) and receives all the supplies he will need to function. This should include having items such as email, voicemail, printed business cards, computer access, and a workspace with basic office supplies available for the new leader on his first day at work. The leader will feel more welcome if you have him added to the leadership information on your church website right away rather than taking months to include him.
Ready, set …
With this orientation complete, it’s time to put the new leader to work. Here are an additional five steps a senior leader can take to lead their leaders to success in their areas of ministry:
1. Get out of the way! Let your leaders lead. Nothing inhibits a new leader’s start more than having his leader always looking over his shoulder or stepping in the way. Give your leaders room to do their work.
2. Keep your leaders positioned for success. Not every ministry will be in the spotlight at the same time. It’s important that a senior leader not let the work of other leaders be lost or diminished when an emphasis is on another area. Additionally, it’s important the senior leader routinely bring to the front what is happening in each ministry to keep that leader and his area connected to the larger church body.
3. Provide real support. Some simple things a senior leader can provide as ongoing support of the leaders they lead include:
- Equipping – Your leaders may need advanced discipleship, additional training, further professional development, ongoing study, etc., in order to be successful in their area.
- Supplying – Make sure your church “supply line” remains adequate for each of your leaders.
- Encouraging – Your leaders will be busy being key sources of encouragement for those they lead. You will want to make sure they are encouraged in their work.
- Example – Don’t just talk the talk. Provide the leaders you lead with a living example of the quality of leadership you expect from them.
- Access – As a senior leader, you’re a primary ministry and leadership resource to the leaders you lead. Make sure each leader you lead has a reasonable avenue of access to you.
4. Routinely measure results. Help your leaders be accountable for their leadership by routinely measuring the results of their work. How and when results are measured, and what is done with the results, should be achieved according to the plan you laid out as part of the orientation for the new leader. The measuring of results is a primary tool for the senior leader to help the leaders he leads stay on mission for ministry success, or identify corrections that need to be made in order to achieve desired outcomes.
5. Celebrate success, correct deficiencies. Emphasize and highlight the successes of your leaders. Express your appreciation for them both publicly and privately. If a leader falls short of the expectations you have previously communicated, work with the leader to develop a plan of correction that can help them achieve the results you’re expecting.
This is not, by any means, a complete list of how senior leaders can help the leaders they lead be successful in the ministry areas they are responsible for. The focus here is on practical steps of leadership basics, without which senior leaders will find their own work hampered by disappointing outcomes from the leaders they are responsible for.
Senior leadership takes real work and real investment in the lives of other leaders that can’t be done from an “ivory tower.”
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.