Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Friday Finds - Teachability, Work-Life Balance, & Organizational Chaos

And just like that, another session of my Executive Pastor Coaching Network is completed. I really enjoyed this cohort and learned a lot from them. I look forward to us continuing to sharpen one another as we share questions and insights in our ongoing facebook group, and I'm already looking forward to this fall's group (interested in joining the fall network? Read more information here).

Here are some of my favorite leadership finds this week:

How To Make Yourself Unoffendable And Teachable (And Still Maintain Your Confidence) by John Brandon via Inc.

John Brandon wisely points out the fine, fine line between staying humble and teachable while still being an expert at your job. As a leader, I'd rather err on the side of teachability. Genuine self-confidence can recognize your own skills and abilities without getting offended at the prospect that you still have things to learn. What will it be, church leaders? Will you put up a wall? Or will you remain open to being a life-long, confident learner? (I believe the health of your church staff will depend on it!)

10 Common Sentiments Pastors Wish They Could Express by Thom Rainer via ThomRainer.com

This short post couldn't be more dead-on. It pains me that often church leaders don't have people in their lives that they can be this honest with. Pastors, does this post resonate with you? Paul David Tripp said in a recent #Vandercast episode that "Pastors need to be pastored, too." Leaders, I urge you to find someone in your life who can pastor you; who you can say these things to. It will add to the longevity of your ministry.

There Is No Such Thing As Work-Life Balance by William Vanderbloemen via Forbes

William's insight on Forbes this week brought a much-needed fresh take on the thought that church leaders should take vacation directly after Easter. But maybe now is the most strategic time for you to keep your energy up; maybe the marathon isn't quite over for you yet. Read the article and comment below what you think about it. How do you recognize and establish your healthy rhythms?

Organized For Chaos by Jenni Catron via Get4Sight.com

I'm a big fan of Jenni Catron - she's even been one of the past featured facilitators of the Executive Pastor Coaching Network. How clear is your organizational chart? In her consulting, Jenni has seen so many dotted lines, exceptions, unclear job descriptions, bureaucracy within a church's organizational structure. She wisely exhorts us, "Leaders, one of our primary responsibilities is to fight for clarity." Clarity is vital for maximum effectiveness.

What are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday Finds - Vulnerability, Difficult People, and Firing

A couple days ago, I had the opportunity to sit with the leaders of an amazing church in central Ohio. I've been working with them for a few months to identify a high level leader for their church. This is a very strategic hire for them, with the potential to make a huge difference for the growth and trajectory of their congregation and potential impact on the surrounding community. There's not much more fulfilling for me than to partner with churches to find great staff members for their team.

Wherever you are in your hiring or searching or managing of people, you have likely had to address some of the topics in this edition of Friday Finds -- such as dealing with difficult people, or occasionally having to fire an employee. Check out these links and tell me about your experience in the comments.

The One Essential Trait Leaders Fail To Master by Glenn Llopis via Forbes

Spoiler alert: the trait Glenn Llopis writes about is vulnerability. How often have you thought about that as an essential leadership attribute or sought to develop it in yourself? It doesn't make you look weak, it makes your team respect you and your vision more. "Vulnerability is like sunscreen: Fail to apply it and you will get burned." Stop whatever you're doing and read this now.

How Smart People Handle Difficult People by Travis Bradberry via Entrepreneur.com

Leaders: ever try to reason with an unreasonable person? Decrease drama with a dramatic person? Pacify a squeaky wheel on a committee? We've all experienced difficult people on our staff or volunteer teams - often inherited. Though we can limit these people in our spheres through wise vetting and hiring, developing skills to help deal with difficult people is a smart thing to do. Read Travis Bradberry's wisdom here.

Your Church Staff Doesn't Actually Have A Communication Problem by Tony Morgan via TonyMorganlive.com

It's easy to blame certain staff hiccups on communication problems. But is that a lazy oversimplification? Are we deflecting blame of ourselves as leaders when we say that? What if our "communication problems" are actually vision, systems, or management problems? It's time to dig deeper. Don't miss Tony's insights on this.

How To Fire A Church Staff Member Gracefully [Webinar replay feat. Thom Rainer] via Vanderbloemen Search Group

This would be a great insight to listen to after reading the article about dealing with difficult people. All leaders will need to fire employees on occasion. It's the worst part of the job, but sometimes the healthiest thing you can possibly do to you team. So how can you do it as gracefully, wisely, and effectively as possible? Listen to my friends William Vanderbloemen and Thom Rainer offer up some great wisdom on this topic.

What are you reading or listening to this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday Finds - Squeaky Wheels, End of Culture Fit, & Leading Creatives

This week has found me with meetings in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Seattle. A busy week! I especially enjoyed talking about staffing at a workshop at the Thrive Conference in southern California, where over 2,000 church leaders gathered to be inspired and learn. I'm always jazzed to be around leaders who want to learn. 

And if you are one of those, here are some articles to help you be a better leader this week:

7 Things Every Leader Should Know About Working With Millennials by Carey Nieuwhof via CareyNieuwhof.com

It can be tempting to gloss over a blog post like this and think "another post about millennials," but I urge church leaders not to do so. Not only do I think it is extremely important for church leaders to understand and mentor this generation, but Carey Nieuwhof also offers up some fresh insights about them: "Here’s the bottom line with young leaders: If you help Millennials win, you’ll both win. If you merely want them to help you win, you’ll lose."

The Client Is Never The Problem by Kevin Hart via Entrepreneur.com

Though this article is written about clients, I encourage you to read this as "The Church Member Is Never The Problem." We all know what it's like to deal with complaints from people in the congregation, and sometimes it's easy to write them off as "squeaky wheels" who are never content with anything. Kevin Hart offers a perspective the combines empathy and firmness that we would do well to apply to similar situations.

The End Of Culture Fit by Lars Schmidt via Forbes

I'm a big proponent of hiring for culture fit, so this article is me playing a bit of "devil's advocate." Lars Schmidt asserts that the idea of culture fit is abstract and biased - meaning it can be used as an excuse for hiring people who are all similar, resulting in a "homogenous culture." What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Schmidt? How do you define culture fit when staffing your church?

How To Lead & Develop Creatives On Your Church Staff with Stephen Brewster [Podcast] via Vanderbloemen Search Group

Whether you are a creative or you lead creatives, this is a must-listen. Stephen Brewster gives us wise insights into the creative process, as well as how to effectively lead creatives and mentor young creatives. We are in an era of the Church where creativity is more and more celebrated - let's continue that trend!

What are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments.

Friday Finds - Losing Staff, Pastors' Fears, & Practical Culture-Building

This week I had the privilege of leading the Executive Pastor Coaching Network, and, as always, I learned so much from the group. On one of the days, we sat under the coaching of Dave Lonsberry, executive pastor from Christ Fellowship in Miami. All in all, a busy week, but an extremely rewarding week.

Here are some articles to help you be a better leader this week:

Why You Lose Your Best Volunteers And Staff by Stephen Brewster via StephenBrewster.me

As everyone knows, people don't quit organizations, they quit people. And when talented people quit, it's almost always painful. Have you thought long and hard about the reasons you might've lost some high capacity staff members in the past? Read this great post from Stephen Brewster.

20 Fears Pastors Tell Me They Are Facing by Brian Dodd via Brian Dodd On Leadership

One of the things they don't tell you when you're young is that being a leader can be lonely. Being a church leader can be even more lonely. Pastors deal with a myriad of fears that can be difficult to confide in others. If you've dealt with any of these fears, read this blog by Brian Dodd and know that you're not alone. (If you are a senior pastor, I'd also encourage you to check out our Lead Pastor Coaching Network, where you can talk about these types of issues in a safe space.)

The Crazy Way We Work by Michael Hyatt via MichaelHyatt.com

Michael Hyatt's team has created an awesome infographic on the work habits of today's workforce. What is eating into our productivity? Check out this cool infographic and start to be more mindful about your distractions, your sleep, and your work/life boundaries.

How To Build Systems For Great Staff Culture with Katie Viscontini [Podcast] via Vanderbloemen Search Group

We've gotten a ton of listens and positive feedback for this recent podcast. How is it different from any other article or book on staff culture? Because it's insanely practical. Learn how the Vanderbloemen team (rated in the Top 5 Company Cultures nationwide by Entrepreneur two years in a row & in Houston's Best Places To Work two years in a row) has set scalable systems in place to ensure our great team culture continues to thrive.

What are you reading this week? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. I'm excited to speak at the Thrive Conference in California on Mar 23. If you're in California and attending, make sure to come by and say hi! Or you can register here: https://www.thriveconference.org/leadership-southwest