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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

Performance Management or Performance Development?

With change permeating the church, evolving work environments, and the needs of next generation employees, maximizing the performance of staff is more important than ever – for both employee satisfaction and church effectiveness.

Unfortunately, Gallup Surveys indicate just one in five employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to perform outstanding work. Further, millennial employees are looking for a coach who provides ongoing feedback rather than a command and demand boss, and few church leaders are equipped for such a role.

Traditional performance management approaches focuses more on the past and present rather than the future. An approach that emphasizes performance development invests in the future by equipping, inspiring, and improving the performance of employees.

The solution? Church leaders must shift from just traditional staff performance management approaches to also include performance development. In such a staff culture, church leaders learn to not simply manage employees but also develop them through frequent and customized performance conversations that clarify expectations, celebrate successes, identify barriers and resource needs, and provide accountability.

What Do The Best Supervisors Do In These Conversations?

The best supervisors know how to make the most of their interactions with their team by:

  1. Customizing conversations to the individual needs and unique strengths and talents of each employee. Taking the time to connect with each employee individually and authentically, valuing how they naturally think and behave, and using that information to assign job duties motivates and maximizes staff performance.
  2. Clarifying expectations that are aligned with the church’s objectives. Collaborative dialogue that sets clear objectives that are aligned with the church’s goals minimizes staff confusion when there are conflicting priorities, new initiatives, and shifting goals.
  3. Identifying barriers to success. Ensuring employees have the support, resources, and what they need to be successful in their roles and responsibilities can only happen in a work environment where developmental conversations are happening day in and day out.
  4. Fostering staff ownership of their own development. Actively involving the employee in determining and designing their personal and professional development initiatives creates a culture where employees feel comfortable in asking for counsel and guidance.
  5. Advocating a variety of developmental resources, opportunities and experiences. Funding for education assistance, consultants, conferences, courses, workshops, books, webinars, and church site visits communicates commitment to a broad approach to employee development.
  6. Providing fair, developmental, and achievement focused accountability. Only 40% of employees surveyed by Gallup strongly agree that their supervisor holds them accountable for performance goals. Ongoing conversations that engage the employee in determining metrics and evaluation practices ensures that employee achievements are accurately and fairly reflected and recognized.
  7. Providing frequent feedback. Less than 50% of employees surveyed by Gallup strongly agree that their supervisor regularly provides them meaningful feedback. Ongoing employee conversations provides the supervisor opportunity to provide real time feedback on current projects, assignments, and expectations.

 Help Staff Supervisors Shift to a Performance Development Approach

The following strategies can help church leaders incorporate frequent and ongoing coaching conversations into church work settings.

  1. Have more conversations……lots of them. Gallup Surveys show that only one in five employees strongly agree that they have talked to their supervisor in the past six months about how best to reach their goals. By seizing every opportunity for meaningful conversations, church leaders can create a culture where developmental conversations are continual, relevant, and motivating.
  2. Intentionally infuse conversations into existing touchpoints. Rather than reserve developmental discussions to one-on-one office meetings, view any regular staff meeting or gathering as opportunities for coaching conversations. Even brief conversations can encourage dialogue and communicate to employees that the supervisor cares about their development.
  3. Informal check-ins as well as formal progress discussions. Formal monthly or quarterly conversations and annual reviews are integral to maintaining accountability. But, informal morning standup huddles and impromptu hallway and coffee pot conversations are brief and casual opportunities to ask questions and offer words of encouragement and counsel.
  4. Reimagine supervisors as performance coaches. To master this new approach, church leaders must take ownership of their employees’ development just as they do their own development. And, they must begin to think of themselves in a new way: as a mentor and coach rather than a supervisor and boss. A performance development approach to supervision works because it provides employee continual coaching that pays dividends in the future for the staff and the church.

Posted on May 22, 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