6 Steps to Identify and Engage Your High Potential Ministry Leaders

The engine for your vision is your leadership. Period. Neglect it and you neglect your vision; lead others well and everything else will take care of itself.   – Will Mancini

Your ministry team members aren’t another resource — they are unique and talented individuals entitled to respect and the pursuit of purpose in their lives. They belong to your organization in order to perform meaningful work in a community with others of like mind to achieve their own goals and to make a difference in the world or in other peoples’ lives. And they like to feel good about and enjoy the time they spend working in those organizations.

If we truly want to bring out the best in the ministry leaders working with us and for us, we must pay attention to them, their efforts, and the results of their labor.

Michelle Smith, VP of Business Development at OC Tanner, offers six tips leaders can use to identify, re-engage, and more effectively manage high-potential team members:

1. Stimulate. Emerging leaders need stimulating work, recognition, and the chance to grow. If not, they can quickly become disengaged.

2. Test.  Explicitly test candidates for ability, engagement, and aspiration to make sure they’re able to handle the tougher roles as they develop.

3. Manage. Having organizational department leaders oversee high-potential team members only limits their access to opportunities and encourages hoarding of talent. Instead, manage these high-potential team members at a higher level.

4. Challenge. High-potential team members need to be in positions where new capabilities can—or must—be acquired.

5. Recognize. High-potential team members will be more engaged if they are recognized frequently, so offer them appropriate recognition.

6. Engage. Incorporate high-potential team members into strategic planning. Share future strategies with them and emphasize their role in making them come to fruition.

The bottom line is, don’t take your team members for granted. While engagement may be hard to sustain, it’s infinitely easier when you nurture, recognize, stretch, and develop your team.


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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

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