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); ?> This is fabulous material! In fact, it’s life changing for a church navigating a mid to post-Covid reality! Thank you.
— Wendell Hutchins II
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
— Dennis Whiterock
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
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