Are you doing team leadership wrong?

Phil Cooke offers some strong advice about meetings, teams and decisions on this blog entry:

Teams are for brainstorming and execution.

Leaders make decisions.

Simple as that. What’s happening today is that too many leaders are afraid to embrace decisions. Fear of not being liked. Fear of failure. Fear of making mistakes. Insecurity. There’s a number of reasons. As a result, they defer the decisions to the group. But all that happens in this scenario is that the decision devolves into endless discussions, debates, and arguments. I’ve been in leadership meetings that lasted for 12 hours because they couldn’t arrive at a decision. (No surprise there.)

Turn to your team for ideas, brainstorming, research, opinions, and more. Develop a killer team of brilliant people. But when it comes to making a real decision, nothing takes the place of genuine leadership. Once that decision is made, a great team is brilliant at execution.

In military terms, a great team can figure out how to take the hill. But someone has to decide which hill to take.

Don’t give up your role as being a strong decision maker.

Agree/disagree? I tend to agree, but I also love the joy of bringing a group of people to consensus on issues. Where there’s consensus (even if it takes longer than I desire), there’s ownership and investment.


Jodi Glickman in the Harvard Business Review asked, “Does anyone has time for interns?” The answer is that if you don’t, you should. We have an intern program in our church that is consistently stretching and helpful. One thing I’d affirm from the article is the importance for the intern of making things happen. Get busy. Take initiative. Get things done.

One of the best ways to get ahead at work is to make your boss’ life easier or better… Show your new employer how you’re going to solve a specific problem, fill in a missing need, or simply be someone who can hit the ground running on a specific and manageable task.

Matt Morrison also wrote on The Importance of Interning and identified the following three areas:

  • It’s a chance to learn.
  • It’s a chance to fail.
  • It’s a chance to humble yourself.

He also offered the following wisdom:

Internships are a vital part of growing as a professional and as a person. In medicine or law, they require it. Many businesses and corporations prefer to see them on a new hire’s work history. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t even hire anyone who didn’t have an internship under his or her belt. [emphasis mine]

While not all interns are created equal, having a consistent intern program – especially in the church – provides you as a leader with the opportunity to discern the suitability of a person’s role in ministry. From mundane tasks to significant assignments, the intern is observed and assessed for greater roles of responsibility and leadership. Internships provide a way for churches to identify future leaders (and to cull out that who shouldn’t be leaders at the present time).

Our church has a one-year intern program. They work for the first three months on mostly mundane, “grunt-work” and errand-type tasks. This provides us with the opportunity to observe attitude and motive in service. The second three months, they are assigned a particular area of ministry. The remaining six months (after evaluation of the first six), they are paid – a very little – and continue in their assigned area of ministry as a growing part of our staff team. You can review our intern documents here.

Three Questions Ministers Must Answer

Steve Murrell wrote in February 2012 what looks like now a prophetic post. Since then, there has been a full-court press on his third question. Here are the three issues he said ministers (and churches) must be able to respond to:

  1. The Exclusivity of Christ. Is faith in Jesus the only way to heaven?
  2. The Authority of Scripture. Is the Bible trustworthy and authoritative for all mankind, in all times?
  3. The Sanctity of Marriage. Who should define the institution of marriage?

I would add another issue that churches and leaders must be able to address with grace and from scripture:

  • The Beauty of Gender and Sexuality. Are men and women fundamentally different in their roles, and as a result, are there boundaries for sexual expression?

Would you add anything to these issues as important topics for churches to be able to address with grace and truth for our culture?


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