Tag Archives: communication

Top 10 Mistakes Leaders Make

I just found my notes from Hans Finzel’s book – a must-read for any pastor / church leader.  Just in case you’re like me and already have 3-4 books going at this moment and don’t really have time or energy to add another book to the list – here are the ‘cliff-notes’ version:  (Don’t miss #9 – it’s my favorite!)

1. Top-down Attitude
This is the “mother of all leadership hang-ups.”  Based on the military model, this autocratic model is set to be abused.  It promotes talking instead of listening and often neglects the art of delegation.

2. Putting Paperwork before People-work
People are opportunities – not interruptions.  Need-meeting is at the core of leadership and ministry.

3. The Absence of Affirmation
People thrive on sincere praise and appreciation.  Don’t underestimate the power of a ‘thank-you note.’ Do your best to catch people doing good and be generous with your compliments.  The ratio of positive to negative should be no less than 6:1.

4. Beware of not Making Room for Mavericks
People with different ideas are often pushed to the side by their leaders.  Make room for independent thinkers by creating an atmosphere of innovation.  Creativity has been terribly stifled in today’s churches.

5.  Dictatorship in Decision-making
You can’t delegate philosophy – only procedure.  Don’t think you are the only one who can do it. The one who does the job usually knows best how it’s done and how it might be improved.  The best ideas usually bubble up from the bottom – not from the bureaucrats!

6. Dirty Delegation
One of the most frustrating things to an employee or a volunteer is to be assigned something with no authority to do it.  Sometimes the job given has so many strings attached to it, that the worker is afraid to make a move.  Don’t be afraid of losing your authority – and don’t give into your tendency to micro-manage.  There is nothing that crushes morale and causes resentment quicker than this!

7. Communication Chaos
Never assume – NEVER.  Communicate your vision and repeat your dream.  Do more listening than talking.  The larger the group, the more formal the communication needs to be, and the more methods of communication needed to interact.

8. Missing the Clues of Corporate Culture
Corporate culture is defined as: the way insiders behave based on the values and traditions they hold.  Theologians call this ‘contextualization.’  Part of establishing credibility is learning to identify with the specifics of your team.  Know them.  Be sensitive to what people think.

9. Success without Successors
Instill your convictions and philosophies deep within your followers.  Pride tightens the grip, humility relaxes and lets go.  A good mentor:

  • sees potential in others
  • tolerates failure and weakness
  • is flexible
  • must have patience
  • looks down the road
  • prays for discernment
  • gives timely advice
  • has the capacity to encourage
  • gives freedom to allow leadership to emerge
  • is willing to risk his own reputation

10. Failure to Focus on the Future
Be pre-occupied by planning.  Don’t settle for long-term dreams — set short-term goals.  Then evaluate your progress.

Article by Patrick Nix


Other Articles  |  Bio

…Because It’s Not Just a Lesson

I recently accepted the opportunity to teach the adult Sunday School class at Fishers Baptist Church, and today was my first class as the teacher. I was grateful to be asked!

Sunday School presents unique opportunities for a more interactive style of communication, and for building community, that can sometimes go underutilized. I thought I’d share with you some of the ways I’m being intentional with this opportunity:

  • Our physical environment is the main worship space, where the seating is divided into four sections in a semi-circle shape. I began our time by asking everyone to come together into the middle two sections, a request they complied with mostly willingly. 🙂 Physical proximity changes the dynamic of any environment, and awareness of physical presence sometimes is a first step toward engaging at other levels.
  • As part of my other roles at the church, I generally wear a suit or sportcoat and slacks, with ties and, if I say so myself, some pretty sweet pocket squares. But for this environment, I wanted to project a less formal presence, and send a message of willingness to get to work. So I took off the sportcoat and rolled up my sleeves.

I struck this pose after I rolled up my sleeves. That wasn’t weird, was it?

  • I used a lectern on the main floor of the worship space, and did not use the pulpit/platform. It puts me closer to the group, and also sends the message that this time/setting is different from the worship service, and has different purposes.
  • I explained to the class that I had three things I wanted to accomplish in this setting: to facilitate building relationships, work together on the rhythms that allow our relationship with God to grow and deepen, and study the Scriptures together (I’m using James Dyet‘s study of Colossians as a base).
  • I encouraged the class that, though it would be hard sometimes, being honest and open would help us to build relationships God could use to meet needs. I asked if anyone in the class had something that was weighing on their mind going into this week, and a young mother mentioned that she had finals coming up. I asked her how we could pray for her, and she wasn’t sure, so I asked if anyone else in the class had taken finals before, and others offered specific ways in which they would be praying for her. Then another lady in the class volunteered to watch her young son so she could better prepare. It was a pretty cool moment, and, I hope, a validation of it being worthwhile to push through the discomfort to be more open about our needs with each other.

In whatever role you’ve been given, in whatever sphere of life you’re operating (work? family? church? spirituality?), you have the chance to be more intentional about doing the things, sometimes large but mostly small, that set you up to be successful in your endeavor. These are some of mine: what are yours?

Article by Mike Rowell


Articles  |  Bio