Manpower: People are selected and placed in positions that fit their gifts, passions and callings and that align with the church’s objectives and culture

Where Are You On The Leader Engagement Continuum?

One of a church leader’s continual challenges is knowing when and how much to engage with their employees, volunteers, or teams. Leader engagement is the face to face or transmitted interactions and involvement with those they lead, and falls on a continuum from low to high, and from too early to too late.

Much like the concept of situational leadership, leader engagement demands experience, feedback, and discernment to effectively gauge and apply the level of engagement needed in the moment with each employee, volunteer, or team. Leader engagement that is too much, too little, too early, or too late can create frustration for individuals and dysfunction in organizations.

Below are symptoms of individual and organizational dysfunction caused by inappropriate leader engagement. Use evidence of these symptoms to monitor your levels of engagement with the employees, volunteers, and teams you lead and make the necessary adjustments before full blown dysfunction occurs.

Symptoms of Too Little Leader Engagement

When a leader engages too little in a discussion, decision, assignment, or process:

  • The leader fails to attend key meetings or is unprepared when he or she does attend
  • People fail to have clear direction
  • People fail to fully understand the situation or assignment
  • People aren’t mentored
  • The leader loses touch and fails to understand the realities of the organization
  • There is a lack of “global” planning
  • There is a lack of organizational alignment
  • The organization suffers consistent breakdowns in communication

Symptoms of Too Much Leader Engagement

When a leader engages too much in a discussion, decision, assignment, or process:

  • The leader feels compelled to lead and/or provide input in all meetings
  • The leader is involved in every decision and referees every conflict
  • The leader fails to effectively execute all of their responsibilities because they are too involved in the responsibilities of others
  • People feel micromanaged and disempowered
  • People feel they are not needed
  • People are shut down in meetings
  • People don’t “own” the decision
  • People are confused about what is priority because “everything” is important to the leader
  • When the leader leaves, the organization flounders because of their over dependence upon the leader

Symptoms of Too Early Leader Engagement

When a leader engages too early in a discussion, decision, assignment, or process:

  • The leader gets out ahead of everyone else
  • The leader researches, plans, and executes without involving others
  • People don’t understand the “why”
  • People stop thinking for themselves and never get engaged in the discussion
  • People are unprepared to contribute
  • All possible alternatives are not explored
  • Sufficient resources are not available

Symptoms of Too Late Leader Engagement

When a leader engages too late in a discussion, decision, assignment, or process:

  • The leader is not available for input at the time people need to meet
  • The leader does not respond in a timely manner to requests for information, feedback, and decisions
  • The leader fails to understand all the details and implications
  • The leader becomes a bottleneck in decision making and creates frustration for followers
  • Plans and decisions stall
  • Opportunities are missed
  • Time is wasted, unnecessary work is done, or work has to be done over
  • Poor decisions are made and resources are squandered due to a lack of timely leader engagement
  • People get out ahead of the leader, creating leader frustration
  • The leader doesn’t effectively “champion” the initiative

What would you add to these lists?


Posted on January 23, 2018

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

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“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5