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Might: Organizational, personal and positional influence sources are appropriately used to make decisions and influence people

An Alternate Approach To Command, Demand, and Control Leadership

Last week we looked at the history, definition, and outcomes of the Command, Demand, and Control Leadership approach that has become so popular in businesses and churches in recent decades. This week we examine an alternate approach for church leaders to consider.

 The Church and Culture Has Changed

Today’s churches are too large, too complex, and too dynamic to put the burden of success entirely upon a single or small group of leaders. Interdependent, educated, and networked employees and the scope of a church’s mission and vision demands less control, increased collaboration, and more inspiration from leaders. Though it is difficult to escape the Command, Demand, and Control leadership style’s historic influence and dominance, as a leader, you must. Here’s why.

To experience success, church leaders need many eyes and ears tuned to the culture, the membership, and ministry best practices as well as internal organizational forces. They need many hearts, hands and feet working together in passionate pursuit of a God inspired mission and vision. Whose eyes, ears, hearts, hands and feet do they need? Staff and Volunteers!

 An Alternate Approach: Developing, Empowering, Inspiring and Collaborating

To allow for these changes today’s church leaders need an alternative leadership approach that prioritizes Developing, Empowering, Inspiring, and Collaborating activities with both their staffs and volunteers. This style is characterized by the following behaviors.

Developing leadership focuses on training, mentoring, and equipping staff and volunteers with the knowledge, skills, and habits they need to be effective in their jobs and responsibilities. A leader operating in a developing style puts people in a position to succeed by making them better.

Empowering leadership requires trust. It means giving not only responsibility but also providing the necessary resources and granting the authority to fulfill the responsibility. A leader operating in an empowering style points their staff and volunteers toward the preferred outcomes and lets them determine how best to get there.

Inspiring leadership makes people willing rather than coerced participants. A leader operating in an inspiring style focuses on modeling biblical and organizational values and communicating in a variety of compelling ways the mission, vision, goals, and stories of the organization.

Collaborating leadership involves working with. It means being in relationship, dialoguing, and operating as a team aligned across hierarchical and structural boundaries in pursuit of the mission and vision of the church. A leader operating in a collaborative style views staff and volunteers as strategic partners in executing the mission, vision, and strategies of the organization, not just “targets” of it.

This demands an organization with good enough processes and systems, less silos, and reduced leadership control. The reality is we cannot command, demand, and control people into effective and efficient behaviors. We have to lead them with vision, inspiration, collaboration, and relationship.


Posted on March 13, 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