7 WARNING SIGNS WHEN HIRING STAFF

Dan Reiland shares this seasoned counsel on a vital leadership process in the church. – STEVE

Hiring someone to join your staff is one of the coolest things ever, and simultaneously can scare you spitless.

Especially if you’ve ever had a newly hired staff person go from a dream come true to your worst nightmare.

I always love the privilege to get to add someone to the team. It represents newness, progress and taking new territory. But it’s far better to have an unfilled position, no matter how long it takes, rather than hire the wrong person.

The hiring process is complicated, it’s honestly a study in human nature. Even done well, you never remove all the risks. But there are certain things you can watch for.

Over the course of three decades of hiring experience, I have observed definite patterns and behaviors that either draw me in or drive me away from a potential staff member.

Snap judgments and quick opinions are never wise, but there are specific caution flags that I’ve learned that should not be ignored.

Sometimes a caution flag turns out to be no big deal. It’s just a small piece of the candidate’s story, and in context of their larger story, it’s not something that defines who they are as a person.

In order to grasp and fully understand this kind of nuance in a person’s story it requires that you:

  • Pay close attention during the interview process.
  • Ask open ended questions, ask for stories, and ask more questions directly from their answers.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask tough questions.
  • Involve a team, and never have only one person make the hiring decision.
  • Never rush the process.

I’m sure you could add a warning flag or two, but here are seven you should not ignore.

7 Major Warning Signs:

1) It seems like a job more than a calling.

I’m not suggesting that you over spiritualize or even romanticize the hiring process. The position receives a paycheck, but it’s also a church and a sense of calling needs to be evident to some degree.

It’s a delicate balance I know; you don’t want to have someone play the God card.

For example, “God told me He wants me here.” There must be room for God to speak to both parties. But a genuine sense from the candidate that God is in the process is vital.

2) Their spouse is not fully supportive of the idea.

If the spouse isn’t enthusiastic, you need to proceed with great caution.

If the candidate says, “My husband or wife will get happy when we get here,” no they won’t. If they aren’t happy about the decision before they join the team, it only gets worse after. Don’t force it no matter how much you like the person.

It’s not that you are “interviewing” the spouse, but you do want to get to know them. It’s also important that they attend worship at your church at least once and love it.

They need to want to attend your church, not just work there.

3) Spiritual life and community appear to take a back seat to advancement.

It’s good to know the potential staff member has aspirations to rise in responsibility within the organization. Ambition is good. But there’s more to this idea.

It’s true that you are hiring a person to fulfill a specific responsibility. Be very clear on your expectations. However, in the local church, spiritual life and community cannot be separated from the job.

It’s critical that your candidate expresses a genuine longing to grow as a Christian, be part of your community, and develop in their spiritual maturity.

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HOW YOUNG LEADERS CAN HELP OLDER LEADERS

This blog post comes from Dan Reiland.  It is one of the best I have read in sometime. – STEVE

Leading someone older than you can be challenging.

As the Boomer generation ages and hands the baton of leadership to the X’ers and Millennials, more and more young leaders find themselves leading those older than themselves.

This is an important question: Why do some young leaders do it well and some do it poorly?

I remember the first time this really hit me. On my first day as Executive Pastor in San Diego, I suddenly realized I would be leading staff who were older and more experienced than I was. That was intimidating, to say the least. Thoughts went through my mind like, “What do I have to offer them?” And, “Why would they listen to me?

When young staff leads older volunteers with more life experience, they often encounter the same feeling. Over the years I’ve learned that’s a pretty natural response. In fact, it’s actually healthy.

In contrast, if a younger leader assumes, and behaves like they know more than the older leaders they serve, that’s a pretty arrogant disposition. That never goes well.

Even though intimidation, insecurity or lack of confidence can be part of a normal response to leading people with more life experience than you, it’s important for you not to get stuck there. Don’t let your leadership become paralyzed because you are young. You have much to offer.

7 Insights to help young leaders lead older leaders:

1) Remember, you were chosen.

You were picked from all the others. There’s a reason for that. Someone, or several people, saw gifts, talents, and ability in you. Whether you were hired onto a staff team or you were asked to be a leader in a volunteer role, they chose you!

Don’t talk yourself out of deserving this opportunity to lead people. If you focus on their good and the good of the church, you are off to a good start.

2) Embrace the truth that they want you to win.

It’s extremely rare that someone wants you to fail, particularly those who are older than you. Yes, sometimes a few can be difficult, but every once in a while you can be difficult too. Right?

They want you to win. Think about how hard they have worked for a long time; they want all that effort to matter.

If you also want them to “win” spiritually, in their family life, at work and in life in general, this group will eagerly follow you! And they may become your most loyal and strongest advocates.

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