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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I KNOW THINGS

From Dan Rockwell comes this excellent post about failure, frustration, disappointment, real power and relationships.  One of the best leadership posts I have read recently-Steve

BY DAN ROCKWELL

Spotted on a tee shirt in a book store – “When I drink, I know things.”

I turned to my wife and said, “I don’t even need to drink.”

I know things:

#1. I know fear of failure has helped me succeed.

Concern for loss of reputation or respect motivates when things are going wrong.

Ego is useful when used in service of others.

Ego harms when it devalues others.

#2. I know frustration is a good thing when it ignites solution-finding, but exhausting when you snuggle up with it.

Frustration is your response to ‘evil’. No one gets red-faced when you finish ahead of time and under budget.

Four questions drain poison from anger.

  1. What do you want?
  2. What’s important about that?
  3. How might you include others?
  4. What’s the most reasonable step forward?

#3. I know character waits on the other side of disappointment and pain.

You find character digging ditches, not lounging on the beach.

Grit expresses and develops character.

The only way to develop grit is to use it. When you give up on meaningful work because it’s hard, you lose some of yourself.

Grit tip: Hang with people who have grit if you want to develop grit.

Read more ….

HOW TO HANDLE AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY

Dan Rockwell tackles a topic that so many leaders face daily and struggle with constantly. – Steve

Uncertainty finds comfort in nostalgia.

Those who run from ambiguity and uncertainty are bound to repeat the past.

Uncertainty and humility:

The higher you go in organizational life, the lower your tolerance for uncertainty.

Arrogance ties itself to status, position, and admiration.

Humility enables leaders to navigate uncertainty and ambiguity, but uncertainty repels arrogance.

Humility knows itself and tolerates ambiguity and uncertainty.

Identity blurs into performance for arrogant leaders. Performance isn’t identity for humility.

Failure, learning and personal development fall by the wayside when arrogance controls leaders.

Humility and arrogance:

  1. Humility doesn’t need status. Arrogance compares, stands aloof, and puts others down.
  2. Humility is FOR others. Arrogance is FOR itself. Arrogance is stressed. It worries that it won’t get it’s due and fears losing status.
  3. Humility stands WITH. Arrogance stands above and against. Standing WITH creates freedom and gratitude. Standing above and against creates stress, anger, envy, contempt, and insecurity.

Read more at ROCKWELL

LEADING THE WAY

change-fish

by Dr. Steve Dunn

As we were created by the Master Designer, we are hard-wired for change.  But sin has rewired us to see change us something to be feared and resisted.  This rewiring is often disguised by a desire to be comfortable or a belief that practicality is the supreme value in any situation.  The need for change is often ignored because we are busy maintaining life as it has been handed to us.  We even believe the theological lie that good is good enough and so change often doesn’t occur even when there is mounting evidence that without change we will die.

Many persons see their role in the leadership in the church is to help the people go where they want to go.  That is a dangerous fallacy.  The role of leadership in the church is to help the people go where God wants them to go.

Leading the way is not easy.  It requires three things:

  1. It requires vision on the part of the leader.
  2. It requires prayer to insure that the leader’s vision is truly God’s vision.
  3. It requires relational work to help others share that vision.
  4. It requires courage because sooner or leader has to get out front and lead the way.

And that courage must be grounded in the faith that trusts that God will be at work in and through the leader and the process.

A wise leader does his or homework.  You must look before you leap.  But sooner or later you have to leap.

© 2018  by Stephen L. Dunn.  You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at sdunnpastor@gmail.com 

 

How to Help Cautious Decision-Makers Make Commitments

Sharing a particularly helpful from Dan Rockwell. – Steve

BY DAN ROCKWELL

Great results require meaningful commitments.

A commitment is saying NO many times in service to a meaningful YES.

The truth about MAYBE:

I hate MAYBE. Just say yes or no!

Maybe is worse than No.

People who can’t say NO and aren’t ready to say YES are anchors. When someone says, “I’m not sure,” everything grinds to a halt until they make up their mind.

MAYBE is a stranglehold on progress.

But thoughtful people need time to commit.

7 steps that help cautious decision-makers make meaningful commitments:

  1. Make clear requests. Don’t beat around the bush. Cautious decision-makers hate ambiguity. Discuss purpose, outcomes, and responsibilities, for example.
  2. Connect requests to their values and goals. How are you helping them get where they want to go? Explore what they get when you explain what you need.
  3. Expect ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’m not sure’ if it’s a big ask. Stay on target, but don’t push down the door.
  4. Offer support. “I’m glad you’re giving this commitment some consideration. What information might I provide that will help you make up your mind?”
  5. Ask, “What needs to be true for you in order for you to be comfortable making this commitment?”
  6. State intent. “I want to keep moving the agenda forward.”
  7. Set a reasonable deadline. “Could you give me your decision by end of day this Thursday?” Or, “When is a good time for you to give me your decision?”

Help team members identify and explore their greater yes if you expect meaningful commitments.

Tip: Relieve pressure by saying, “I’m OK either way.” If you aren’t OK with someone saying no, it’s not a request. It’s a demand.

Teammates who make commitments slowly and follow-through fully are better than those who commit quickly and disappoint.

How might leaders help people make meaningful commitments?

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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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5 HONEST STRUGGLES MOST CHURCH LEADERS DON’T WANT TO ADMIT

This is one of the best leadership posts that I have read in the last week-STEVE

BY CARY NIEUWHOF

Most of us who get into full-time ministry do so because we sense a calling, not because it was a ‘career path’.

Chances are you got in this because you love God, deeply, right?

So it’s always a bit surprising and unusual then when ministry leaders find themselves struggling with the very God who called them into this in the first place. This is true whether you’re paid, bi-vocational or even a full-time volunteer.

Ministry can not only be hazardous to your spiritual health, it can be confusing.

But the good news is that struggling with God is normal. You are not alone.

The best leaders struggled with God.

Jacob wrestled an angel.

Moses almost quit more than a few times.

Jeremiah tried to quit but couldn’t.

Today’s struggles might be a bit different, but in some ways struggle is inevitable.

I personally have struggled with every one of the five challenges I outline in this post.  And what’s amazing to me is that you can get through them. You really can.

Sometimes all you need to know is you’re not alone. And you’re not, even if you feel that way.

Here are 5 ways ministry leaders struggle in their relationship with God:

1. You see setbacks in ministry as a personal statement from God about you

Hey, everybody thinks this way when life circumstances don’t tilt in their favor (why did God allow me to have cancer/lose this job/be in this place?). So it’s natural that this line of thinking would emerge in ministry.

Just because things aren’t going the way you want in ministry isn’t an automatic sign that God is angry with you. I’m always amazed that constant imprisonment didn’t cause Paul to second guess himself or God.

God isn’t always punishing you, even if it feels like he is.

The key is to take the setbacks in front of you seriously, not personally. You’ll be so much healthier.

2. You believe that greater faithfulness should result in greater impact in ministry 

Ever tried to improve your personal devotional life so your church would do better? Gosh, I wish this wasn’t true but in the early days of ministry, I really thought greater personal fervor would automatically translate into greater ministry impact.

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