I have talked to a number of young leaders recently who I have coached over the years and some senior leaders who are also dealing with the area of hiring well and keeping staff healthy. There are a number of things coming out of those conversations and my own observations working with a staff, I want to share in this post. It is really a follow-up to last weeks post.
Having a clear job description brings clarity to what you want this person to do on your team. It must describe the position with its responsibilities, authority and accountability. Does it really communicate what I want this person to do? When you give the responsibility of a position to someone give them the authority to get the job done within clear boundaries with clear lines of accountability, who they report to and who if any report to them. Working relationships need to be clear in the job description. Keep it simple. Could you get this job done with the time allotted? Is it fair and challenging to the individual who is going to get this position?
- The Role of Senior Staff and Board
Current leaders (Senior staff and Board) need to become cheerleaders, permission and resource givers rather than withholders who stifle creativity. In the words of one of my friends, “we need to allow the continuous tweaking of work areas so that ripples of positive change and growth can happen in the organization”.
I was with a young leader recently where their senior leadership team continues to hold him back and hinder his new ideas to improve the area he has responsibility. These leaders are committed to status quo solutions and continuing to “ride the dead horse” of past programs or methodologies. This has frustrated this young leader.
So are you cheering your team on? Are you serving them so they can be successful? Bless them and Cheer them on even in their mistakes.
I remember one of my young leaders who made a mistake that cost us some money. My only question after his truthful confession was: “What were the lessons you learned”? He shared them clearly. My response “was not do it again”! My response was “Ok, great, let’s keep going we have a lot of work to do.”
Let new leaders loose with the freedom to try new things. Too many organizations and leaders have “Baptized their methodologies”. Our message is absolute, but our methodologies are flexible and fluid to get the job done effectively and efficiently.
Recently I was with a staff person from another organization where the status quo is shutting down the potential of this leader and the ministry they serve. Let young leaders loose with good feedback and encouragement. Let them try new ways because new staff members see the blind spots and go beyond the “groupthink” or status quo of the current leaders. New blood on the team brings a freshness, health, and new ways to alleviate or get old problems solved.
Give people one major thing to do. They might be able to take on a minor role because of their leadership capacity but make it clear what is the majority focus you want them to do. I met a young leader who has had more responsibilities added to their current job. This has resulted in only 40% their main role being completed. This is not fair to them, he is a great servant leader but his present employer is going to lose them without some correction. Along with this too many leaders in their position are dabbling and being distracted by the trivial or minor issues facing them. Keep the main thing the main thing. Help your staff to let these time wasters go so they can concentrate on the main thing.
- Develop Ministry or Work Teams
Staff members who are overseeing an area need to develop a ministry or work team. They are hired to develop people because the team leader who develops others expands their own capacity. Each staff member or leader needs to be developing at least 3 other people so that they can give away areas to people who can carry them further. Who is on your team? How are you developing this team? Who is missing from your team? What resources does your team need to get the job done? These are the questions senior leaders need to be asking. These questions are necessary to keep your team leaders from trying to do it all. Be clear on the purpose of this team and the length of time they need to accomplish their work. They also need deadlines on how long they need to be on the team. Along with the purpose being clear, they need from you the 3-5 core objectives/goals this team needs to accomplish.
One of the questions on a weekly basis I often ask myself, what are three things I can give away today or this week to extend my leadership capacity of the organization I serve. I realized long ago I get more accomplished through leaders who are forming teams. This gets more people involved. Leaders who try to micromanage or try to do it all themselves will soon burn out and stagnant their leadership and responsibility. In fact what I have seen as I give something away to a capable staff member is they will do better and more creative work. Bless them and thank them for this great work. They have saved you time and taken something off your list.
Hope this helps you on this Friday afternoon.