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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

Leader Engagement….Getting It Right

In last week’s post, Where Are You On The Leader Engagement Continuum?, we looked at the symptoms of too much, too little, too early, and too late leader engagement with subordinates. This week we examine the causes of ineffective leader engagement and the behaviors that lead to appropriate and timely leader engagement with those they supervise and lead.

Causes of Ineffective Leader Engagement

Many factors may contribute to a leader’s ineffectiveness in engaging employees, volunteers, and teams. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Fears and insecurities that lead to a need for control
  • Busyness and demands that limit access and availability
  • Lack of planning
  • Poor time management
  • Insensitivity
  • Focusing too much on their own responsibilities
  • Failure to delegate
  • A distaste for meetings
  • An acute drive for goal achievement
  • A strong orientation to detail
  • Perfectionist tendencies
  • Lack of trust or confidence in subordinates

Preventing Too Much Leader Engagement

 The tendency toward too much leader engagement can be mitigated by the leader:

  • Establishing a Check, Do, Report system whereby the leader has the subordinate check with them before proceeding, then implementing the directive, followed by submitting a report
  • Asking thoughtful questions that lead the subordinate to self-discovery rather than being told
  • Selecting the right people who can and will effectively and efficiently fulfill responsibilities
  • Focusing on communicating the what and why and not the how
  • Starting meetings with providing direction, then leaving the meeting for subordinates to discuss implementation
  • Attending only those meetings where the leader’s input is required
  • Focusing on their own mission critical activities and empowering subordinates to do the same

Preventing Too Little Leader Engagement

 The tendency toward too little leader engagement can be mitigated by the leader:

  • Scheduling regular meetings with subordinates, same time, same day, etc.
  • Scheduling quarterly and annual reviews of organizational and subordinate’s goals and results
  • Putting into place formal written and oral feedback systems using reports, spreadsheets, templates, etc.
  • Consistently teaching organizational mission, vision, values, and standards
  • Routinely clarifying expectations
  • Scheduling regular equipping times with subordinates
  • Asking daily, “what do I know that my subordinates need to know?”
  • Scheduling daily “management by walking around” times to informally connect with subordinates

Preventing Too Early Leader Engagement

 The tendency toward too early leader engagement can be mitigated by the leader:

  • Codifying an annual planning cycle and avoiding interjecting out of cycle initiatives
  • Following the chain of command and avoiding skip level management
  • Avoiding new initiatives until the last one is complete
  • Allowing sufficient time for subordinates to “catch up” and “catch on” to the leader’s ideas
  • Making sure subordinates have sufficient margin before introducing new initiatives and responsibilities
  • Understanding the impact of their plans and demands upon subordinates

Preventing Too Late Leader Engagement

 The tendency toward too late leader engagement can be mitigated by the leader:

  • Prioritizing a prompt reply to subordinate’s emails, texts, phone calls, and requests for information and meetings
  • Clarifying the expectations followers have of the leader
  • Setting deadlines and due dates for the leader’s input and decisions
  • Establishing a regular meeting schedule with subordinates
  • Establishing and communicating regular hours of availability to subordinates
  • Empowering an Administrative Assistant or Associate to represent or speak on behalf of the leader

What other ideas would you add to these lists?


Posted on January 30, 2018
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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