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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7 BIGGEST BLUNDERS OF EXPERIENCED LEADERS

Dan Rockwell is a daily source of great teaching on leadership.  Here is the best of his blog posts this past week – STEVE

#1. Forgetting who serves who. Leaders serve others so others can serve others. It’s easy to begin thinking the people around you are there to serve you.

Repeat to yourself, “I’m here to bring out the best in others.”

#2. Blaming rather than taking ownership. The first question real leaders ask when someone under-performs is, “What will I do to maximize their performance next time?”

#3. Thinking that self-perception is accurate. I’ve read that only about a third of us see ourselves the way others see us. You think you’re nice. Others think you’re a jerk. You see yourself as open to feedback and suggestions. Others see you as closed and rigid.

Hire a coach to perform a narrative 360 review. This process goes beyond filling out questionnaires. All participants are interviewed. To be effective, make this a forward-facing activity, not simply a backward-facing witch hunt.

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5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE MINISTRY SILOS

Charles Stone of Stonewell Ministries has one of the most useful leadership blogs available, especially for pastors in churches.  This blog post speaks to a great challenge for any leader seeking to get people to work from the “big picture.” – Steve

5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE MINISTRY SILOS

by Charles Stone

Patrick Lencioni brought the concept of silos into the leadership conversation with this great book, Silos, Politics, and Turf WarsSilos occur in organizations and churches when leaders act like their ministry or team is the only one that matters. A silo attitude results in that leader or team only supporting, giving, or attending functions that pertain to them. It can be kill a ministry and result in many problems. In this post I suggest ways to minimize ministry silos.

First, what problems do ministry silos cause? Here are a few.

  • Unhealthy competition
  • Jealousy
  • Hurt feelings
  • Pride
  • Lack of trust
  • Fighting over limited resources
  • Foot dragging
  • Politics

So how can a leader minimize ministry silos? Below I suggest a key foundation and then 5 pillars to build on that foundation to rid your ministry of silos.

If you want to change your culture to minimize and remove silos, build from the bottom up. Build a solid foundation on the Biblical concept of unity. Teach and train your leaders often about unity remembering that unity does not mean uniformity. God gives each of us unique gifts and abilities which creates a healthy church. Keep these and other Scriptures in front of your leaders.

  • Psa. 133.1 (NIV) How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
  • Rom. 15.5 (NIV) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
  • Eph. 4.3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
  • 1Cor. 1.10 (NLT) I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

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THE BURDEN BEARING LEADER

From Michael Hyatt’s excellent blog FORWARD PROGRESS comes this evaluative insight.

BY MICHAEL HYATT

Leadership, whether of an organization or of a Bible study or of a family, is a burden. A joyful burden much of the time, but a burden nonetheless. Oswald Sanders said it like this: “The world is run by tired men. Mediocrity is the result of never getting tired. Fatigue is the price of leadership.” In other words, leading is the willingness to pick up the burden. But most of the time, we think of that burden in “strategic” terms.

If you do a cursory search on “leadership” you’ll find all kinds of resources, most of which have numbers associated with them. You can 5 Ways or 7 Methods or 14 Theories. The vast majority of these resources deal in strategy, and they should. That is one burden of leadership; you are responsible for the overall vision and perspective of the people under your care. But it can’t really stop there. As a leader, whether in the home or in the church, we bear the burden for what we are leading, but we also must bear the burdens of whom we are leading.

In pastoral ministry, for example, the burden you bear cannot be exclusively in terms of the vision of the church. The burden must take on a more personal nature. Same thing is true in a family, or even in a small group or Bible study. The burden is not only the crafting of and guarding of a clear vision; the “burden” has faces. Problems. Sicknesses. Pain. The burden-bearing leader is one who is not isolated from those he or she leads, but instead is checked into the real issues the people under their care are walking through.

It’s this kind of burden-bearing Paul described in Galatians 6:1-2:

“Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

This passage is about more than stewarding a compelling vision for an organization or a family; it’s about people, and the willingness to come alongside those people in the day-to-day lifting. It seems to me that this is not just a single moment, but instead a lifestyle of investment. To that end, here are three characteristics of the burden-bearing leader:

1. The burden-bearing leader is available.

Time is a commodity like most other things. As a commodity, it is in limited supply. And the greater the leadership responsibility, the greater demand on the time. It’s tempting, then, to want to have a very insulated leadership kind of style – to focus on the big picture and to not come into the details. Unfortunately, it’s those details that are the most representative of people. The burden-bearing leader must, then, be available. This availability is also a responsibility, and it must have limits. But the leader who is available is the one who is going to err on the side of making accommodation to their time or their schedule if they can.

2. The burden-bearing leader is long-suffering.

One of the tendencies we have in leadership is to desire quick fixes to problems. We want to have the meeting, send the email, or have the drop in conversation and resolve the issue quickly and succinctly. And while that might work in some instances, it rarely does when you consider the people involved. Instead, the burden-bearing leader makes the choice to be long-suffering. They are willing to not just a conversation once, but to actually engage in that conversation and to have it again and again. It’s this kind of long-suffering investment that will mark someone who recognizes they are doing more than leading a nameless and faceless entity, but instead stewarding some part of the lives of those whom God has seen fit to put under their care.

3. The burden-bearing leader is listening.

Nothing makes a person feel less like a person than when someone gives only cursory notice to their issue. Conversely, nothing is quite as uplifting as when you know you have the absolute and undivided attention of the person you are speaking to. For a leader, there are lots of voices, and each one needs to be heard. The tendency for us whether in the home, the workplace, or the church is to try and have as many conversations as possible in a span of time. But many times, less is actually more. The burden-bearing leader does the simplest thing that can make the most difference – they actually listen. They look and concentrate. They are fully engaged in the conversation they are having. And in so doing, they are recognizing the creature before them is created in the image of God.

Leadership is a burden. And many times, it’s a heavy one. But as leaders we can cultivate the kind of habits that will not only make us bearers of the burden of what we are leading, but of whom we are leading.

GREAT LEADERS GIVE MORE THAN THEY TAKE

Reblogged from THE LEADERSHIP FREAK….

You’re a black hole, if all you think about is what you need from others.

Great leaders give more than they take.

great leaders give more than they take

4 things that drain people:

  1. Expectation without appreciation. You aren’t thankful for behaviors you expect. “We don’t thank people for doing their job.”
  2. Direction without respect. “I don’t care what you have to do, just get it done.”
  3. Nit-picking without honoring hard work.
  4. Showing up when there are problems but not celebrating successes. “Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, then fly out.” Ken Blanchard.

Energizing goes beyond paychecks and plaques.

7 ways to put in more than you take out:

  1. Make a list of ways you can pour into your teammates. Engage in at least one act of free generosity every day.
  2. Agree on what matters today, tomorrow, and next week. People want to do what matters. In order to succeed at what matters, you must first know what matters.
  3. Learn from others. “What do you think?”
  4. Hold yourself and others to high standards with tenacity and kindness. Define and reach for high standards together.
  5. Lead with heart. Connect results to purpose. Explain how they’re making things better in view of organizational purpose. “When you open a door for a customer, you take us where we want to go,” for example.
  6. Focus on solutions more than problems. Examine problems long enough to understand them, but focus on making things better. When things go wrong, ask:
    • What are we learning?
    • What do we need to stop doing?
    • What will you do differently next time?
  7. Make people feel important. If you don’t know what makes people feel important, ask, “What makes you feel important?”

Bonus: Forgive sincere failure. Confront negligence. Give second chances.

WHY STAFF REVIEWS ARE IMPORTANT

Tom Spivey has shared some important insights on staff reviews and their part in transformational leadership – STEVE

By Tim Spivey

It’s staff review time at New Vintage Church. To some, the idea of “reviewing” staff sounds a bit corporate. It certainly can be. However, it doesn’t have to be depersonalized and cold. It can be a time of the year staff actually looks forward to. In my next post, I’ll share with you how we do ours at NVC. Before that, however, I’d like to encourage you to do it. Over the years, I’ve found them a vital ministry tool. Here’s why:

It keeps communication flowing. It’s amazing to me how many churches either don’t do reviews at all, or make them a monologue from “employer” to “employee.” No one likes an annual beating or reminder of where they are on the proverbial totem pole. However, most ministers I know welcome the opportunity to hear how you think they’re doing, and have an open dialogue about they’re area of ministry over a few hours. Staff reviews are important if for no other reason than this: you and the staff get to practice speaking to one another constructively about awkward subjects. It’s going to be easier to talk about “job performance” or delicate ministry issues throughout the year when you do it more regularly.

It’s a chance to say “Thank you.” All staff have done some praiseworthy things. They deserve to know what those things are. It only blesses people to hear, “Well done.” Do it as often as you can.

It’s a chance to offer correction or “tweaks” if necessary. Even the greatest ministers I’ve ever worked with have things they can improve on. In a healthy staff culture, it will be understood everyone is trying to get better all the time. It will be considered a part of the job to self-assess and welcome others’ assessment for the common good. Having said this, it’s also a time to make people aware of significant or growing problems.

It’s a built-in chance to deal with staff issues you may have been avoiding. To be clear, staff reviews are not the grease trap for all the things you’ve been wanting to say but haven’t had the courage to. It’s a better time to check-in on things you’ve mentioned already. It’s a great danger to let it all build up, only to unleash it on an unsuspecting minister at a vulnerable time like a staff review. If, for instance, you’ve mentioned consistent lateness to meetings, this is a natural time to bring it up again or thank the minister for making strides. One rule of quality staff reviews: NO SURPRISES. No Pearl Harbors. One reason reviews can be non-anxious for people on staff at NVC is they know there will be no surprises. If they are to be confronted about something, they know it’s coming. I’ve committed to them they will know of anything needing attention in advance of that occasion. As a result, they can come in knowing the landscape already.

It’s a chance to strengthen the relational tissue of your team. Talking plainly to one another about important personal things builds chemistry. It deepens your relationships.

It’s a great chance to get a feel for staff’s “job satisfaction.” I like to ask what I can do to make their ministry thrive, or alleviate suffering where it may exist. I also like to ask how I can be a better partner in ministry to them. I have learned some GREAT things about how staff members perceive me or what they need from me during this time.

Lastly, it’s a chance to reward people. I like to come bearing gifts, when possible. If they are married, I like to do something that will bless the whole family. In lean years, it might only be a gift card. Other years, it might be a pay raise. But, I don’t want anyone on staff walking away with only a “well done” in words. I want to demonstrate that in a way that staff member receives affirmation best.

I highly recommend staff reviews for the reasons cited above. In my next post, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide to how we do it at NVC.

Tim Spivey is lead planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, CA. Tim is also an adjunct professor of religion at Pepperdine University and purveyor of New Vintage Leadership, a blog offering cutting-edge insights on leadership and theology. He is the author of numerous articles and the book “Jesus, the Powerful Servant.”

10 QUESTIONS STAFF MEMBERS SHOULD BE ASKING

10 Questions Staff Members Should Be Asking

 

#1 – Do I trust the leadership of this church?  (If the answer is “no” then there are going to be problems because you will be unable to fulfill what God commands in Hebrews 13:17.)

#2 – Do I find myself attacking other people whom I perceive may be more skilled than me?  (If so then you have insecurity issues!)

#3 – Is there anything happening privately in my life that, if it became public, would disqualify me from ministry?  (“Your life” is NOT “your life!”)

#4 – Do I value my calling to serve Jesus and His church over my perceived gifting?  (If the answer is yes then you will do anything at any time to move His church forward.  If the answer is “no” then you will develop a deep sense of entitlement that will cause you to believe that the church should completely be sensitive to your wants and needs above the call to preach the Gospel and reach the world for Christ!)

#5 – Would I attend this church if I were not on staff?  (If the answer is no then you need to do yourself, the church and God a favor and resign right now!  You cannot serve a church that you do not love—period!)

#6 – Do I always have to be the expert OR am I willing to have others step into my particular area of ministry and point out my blindspots and shortcomings?

#7 – Am I always telling others how tired I am?  (If so…SHUT UP!  You are IN THE MINISTRY!  It’s HARD!  Make sure you are taking a day off to rest and relax and then GET ON WITH IT!)

#8 – Do I get angry when I do not receive the recognition and praise that I deserve?  (If so…repeat this phrase, “It’s not about me!”)

#9 – Am I honestly giving my best effort?  (See II Timothy 2:15!)

#10 – Would the people who are closest to me at work say that I am a walking example of Philippians 1:27?