4 Signs Your Team is Not Communicating Well

A team that trusts one another is a team that moves quickly. That is the premise of the book, Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey, which builds the case that trust is one thing that changes everything for a team. The inverse is also true; a lack of trust and a lack of clarity slow down a team.

I have consulted dozens of leadership teams and have continually seen that one of the most obvious places where a lack of trust manifests itself is in the communication practices of the team. Unhealthy team communication reveals a lack of trust among the team and also is extremely time consuming. Here are four signs of unhealthy communication:

1. Many meetings before the meeting

There is such a thing as necessary pre-meeting meetings, when those presenting are reviewing what is going to be presented. But there are also unnecessary and unhealthy meetings before the meeting, where people work hard to manipulate a conversation instead of having an open conversation as a team. Leaders must work to create an environment where team members discuss openly and honestly together, both to build trust and be more effective with time.

2. More time interpreting email than reading it

When a team does not trust each other, people spend more time discussing an email the leader or a team member sends than reading the email and believing the contents in it. When a team trusts each other, people trust what is being said and the intention beneath what is being said.

3. Failure to tell truth when it is difficult

Particularly in ministry settings, leaders can struggle to tell people the truth when it is truth that could result in hurt feelings. After all, ministry settings are supposed to be where grace and compassion flourish. But truth is not opposed to grace. In fact, failing to tell the truth about poor performance or poor attitude is ungracious because it keeps people in a place where they can’t grow and change.

4. Side conversations to build alliances

Trust builds speed and a lack of trust slows everything down. This is often most pronounced by the volume of side conversations. Side conversations that people have because they don’t trust the team or because they are seeking to build alliances for the play they are going to make. Imagine if all that energy and time was reallocated towards the actual work.

When wise leaders see these on their teams, they don’t ignore them. Instead they work to build healthy communication with their team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Clarity Process

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10 Mistakes New Pastors Make in Their First Year

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with new Mariners Church Senior Pastor, Eric Geiger and capture his story of transition for the My Ministry Breakthrough podcast. Springing off of our conversation, here are ten mistakes that too many pastors make during their first year in a new role:

  1. Attempting too much. There will likely be a long list of needed changes to culture and process waiting as you step into this new role. It is equally as likely that much of that list can be done over time and not all at once. Do not mistake activity for ministry. Plans are important, but your greatest influence will come not from the doing as a pastor, but from the being.
  2. Attempting too little. In this season, building relationships become a critical part of establishing your leadership. Meetings are important but so is making some needed and incremental changes. You will set the tone for the whole staff in your first year of work. It could be easy to mistake your desire to spend too much time getting to know them as instruction away from effective progress. Remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit and your team will follow your lead quickly. Year two should not be spent breaking bad habits over fueling new initiatives.
  3. Forgetting the power of questions. The wisest leaders enter most of their meetings in year-one prepared with a set of thought-out and instructive questions. There is wisdom in placing a priority in asking, then listening for something to learn – instead of – telling, then expecting for something to happen. Also, remember it is often in the follow-up questions in which the most discovery usually occurs.
  4. Never leaving your last church. It is natural, and often necessary, to remain connected with good friends and leaders of the church you just left. You will miss some of the processes you helped to develop and some of your favorite places to eat or unwind. However, an unhealthy longing for “what was” will likely keep you and your current church from “what will be.” Using the phrase “at (fill in the church name) we…” too often is a good indicator it’s time to leave mentally as much as you already have physically.
  5. Trying to prove your organizational worth to the formal and informal leaders of the church. PowerPoint presentations and Gantt charts are useful and certainly make a new leader look smart. But, what needs to be proven – what is of most Kingdom value to those leaders – is your dependence on the Lord. It will be your commitment to His Word, to walking in the Spirit and to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ that brings the longest lasting impact to the organization.
  6. Equating time in the pulpit as equal to time with the people. Balance the time spent preaching and preparing to preach with time spent listening and getting to know your congregation, and especially its leaders. Learning who they are and what they struggle with will help to move your preaching past assumptions and simple anecdotes to applying the truth of scripture to the real challenges your people are facing.
  7. Forgetting to help your family grieve the loss of friends and ministry they’ve just left.Holding the two tensions Eric talked about is as critical for your family as it is for you as a leader. The best thing you can help them to do is celebrate the impact of the last season. Like stopping to watch a mid-summer sunset, gather your family to tell the stories of what God has done. Stop and frame a picture from this last season, then reframe from what is lost to what is learned. Think as much as about what we have learned as what we have loved. Help yourself and your family to look back, intentionally and briefly, like a slingshot to looking forward hopefully and expectantly.
  8. Spending extra time in the office instead of at home. In a new pastorate, there will be much to do at work. However, there will always be a lot to do. Ministry activity expands directly with the amount of time available. Be stingy with your time at home. Disappoint your congregation with how much you are not disappointing your family. It is more valuable to your ministry to care for your family and lead them to Christ in this season of transition than to be at every meeting or event someone else has deemed to be critically important.
  9. Believing everything the search consultant or committee told you. It is not that they lied or deliberately misled you – for the most part. Keep in mind that their perception of reality around your new position and their assessment of the condition of the congregation was directly connected to who did the reporting and to their hopes of the outcomes. In some cases, it was their job to present a prettier picture than reality. Therefore do not be discouraged, and remember that there will always be more problems than were first reported and that there are equally as many victories than were ever celebrated. In this new season, walk wisely, with great anticipation, and without assumption.
  10. Forgetting to take care of yourself. Establish a rhythm of health that is sustainable. Work out. Eat healthy, because you will be eating out a lot. Guard your off days as if your life depended on it. Understand the meaning of Sabbath and protect time away from study, meetings and to-do lists. Double down on a hobby or activity that creates room for your mind to breathe and focus on the Lordship of Christ in your life. Your inability to rest or set aside work for a Sabbath is a better statement of your theology than a sermon ever will be.

What mistakes have you made or seen made in the first year of a new ministry role?

Hear Eric Geiger’s leadership transition story here. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
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— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

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The Ministry Benefits of Weekly Downtime

“Why do you take a day-off during the week? The devil doesn’t take a day off!” said one cranky old man to a young pastor.

“Because I am not trying to be like the devil” quipped the pastor.

Well done, pastor. Well done.

Ministry leaders must take a day off each week or they lack the moral authority to encourage those they serve to rest. Ministry leaders must take a day off each week for the sake of their own health, both physical and spiritual health. Without a time to rest, leaders will burn out or implode. Churches that make it difficult for church leaders to take a day off are harming the leaders and the church. Thankfully I have always served in churches that value the ministry leaders having time to rest. Thankfully the people who thought negatively about “days off” for ministry leaders weren’t in positions of decision-making.

If you are one of those people who think ministry leaders only work on Sundays, God loves you in the midst of your foolishness. But you are really, really foolish.

I had always taken Fridays as my “day off” before leaving the local church and serving as senior vice-president at LifeWay Christian Resources. Other friends of mine took Mondays off. Those seem to be the most common days off for ministry leaders. When I left local church ministry to serve at LifeWay, I learned what an actual weekend was. I had no idea what that word “weekend” really meant till not being on staff at a local church. Now that I have gone back to the local church, my current “day off” is Monday but I am going to experiment with Friday again too.

I have asked others which day is the best “day off” for ministry leaders and here are the best arguments I have heard for each day:

Take Mondays off:

  • Sunday is the end of your week. Take Sunday night and Monday off and rest before you start a new week.
  • The “Monday blues” can be real for ministry leaders. You are more susceptible to making bad decisions and express frustration to others. Take off and come back in a better place. You will have fewer regrets for your decisions and your interactions with others.
  • If you take Fridays off, you will be tired the entire week in the office. Rest up on Monday and you will enjoy the week more. And you will be more productive.

Take Fridays off:

  • On Mondays, you will not be able to resist problem solving from the weekend services, so you won’t really mentally be “off” on Mondays. On Friday, there is a better chance your task list is more complete
  • You put yourself behind on sermon prep if you take Mondays off.
  • You are exhausted on Mondays. Don’t give that time to your family. Give them Friday.

Which day is best? I recently polled church leaders on Twitter and 70% of those who responded chose Fridays over Mondays. It likely depends on the rhythm and the personality of the leader. You can experiment and see which works best for you. Or you can stick with what you have always known. The most important thing is that you are actually taking your day off.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Three Places to Uncover Values in Your Culture

While serving alongside the Auxano team, I learned the important distinction between vision, mission, strategy, and values. Well-intentioned leaders can confuse those and mix and match them in a way that actually harms clarity.

  • Mission is the what. Your mission is what your organization or ministry is on the planet to do.
  • Strategy is the how. Your strategy is how you accomplish the mission.
  • Vision is what you are pursuing now – the major goals in front of your team that are in alignment with your mission.
  • And your values impact everything you do because your values form the culture of your ministry organization.

Because it is the shared values and beliefs that form the culture, it is critically important for leaders to understand the values beneath the surface. Wise leaders don’t declare values; they uncover the values that are already there. In your organization, you can learn the values that are beneath the surface by looking in a few places. Doing so will help you understand the culture, and understanding the culture is more important than understanding the strategy because strategy is much more flexible than culture. So where do you look? To uncover the values in your culture, look in these three places:

1. The Heroes and Stories

The leaders in the culture that are spoken of as the epitome of the ministry or organization are good examples of the values on display. Listen to the stories that describe the heroes in the culture and you can learn what is valued. As I interviewed and onboarded into my new role at Mariners Church, I heard numerous stories of God’s people at Mariners serving the poor and marginalized in our community and around the world. The stories are beautiful and amazing. By listening, you can learn a lot about what is valued.

2. The Celebrations

Plato famously declared, “What is celebrated in a country is cultivated.” The same is true in any ministry or organization. Whatever has been celebrated has formed the culture. If a ministry celebrates tangible impact in a local community, you know local engagement is in the culture. If a ministry celebrates volunteers who are equipped for ministry, you know that leadership development is in the culture. If you pay attention to what is celebrated you will you learn what is valued. If you want to add a value to a culture, you will need to find ways to celebrate and cultivate that value. You won’t be able to merely speak a value into existence. You may be the leader, but you are not God.

3. The Language

As the new senior pastor of Mariners, I knew one of my first tasks was to understand the culture beneath the surface at Mariners. Thankfully there was language and history for me to study.

I have been fortunate and blessed to follow an exceptional leader in Kenton Beshore. He has, infused the church with values that have created the culture. When he became the senior pastor 35 years ago, he brought the church a list of five values to the church:

  • We teach God’s Word.
  • Be God’s loving family.
  • Every believer is a minister with a ministry.
  • Be innovative in our ministry and relevant in our community.
  • Be contagious in sharing Jesus Christ

Those values have been crystalized over time. I am leading our team through those values again. We are spending one staff meeting a month, with our whole team, walking through the importance and the implications of each value. It is helping me learn the culture, and I hope and pray it is helping us all renew our commitment to and unify around values that have formed the church we are honored to serve.

I love strategy. I have a tendency to go there first. Strategy is important, but culture is more so. Peter Drucker wisely quipped that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” My friend Will Mancini has provided helpful tools, such as this one, to help leaders articulate values through demonstration of those values.

If you are a ministry leader who would like some strategic outside eyes to help you and your team uncover your unique identity, not only your values but also your mission and your strategy, I highly recommend Auxano. I have learned a great deal from the team and believe wholeheartedly they would serve you and your team well. To reach out to the team, click here.

> Read more from Eric.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Critical Importance of Leadership Development in Discipleship

“Your church is designed to lead, designed to disciple leaders who are, by God’s grace, commanded to disciple people in all spheres of life.”

That sentence is near the beginning of Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck’s excellent book on leadership development in the local church. This is the kind of book that pastors and church leaders will use and discuss for many years because it provides an important framework for considering these issues: Convictions, Culture, and Constructs.  I wanted to introduce this book to you by reiterating the importance of keeping discipleship and leadership together.


3 REASONS WE MUST NEVER DIVORCE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FROM DISCIPLESHIP

by Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck

Consumption is focused on the masses and for the short-term payoff. Discipleship is focused on the person for the long run, for fruit that will last.

Churches will drift without a consistent and constant conviction for discipleship, to disciple people and develop leaders. We must not settle for consumption. Though much more challenging and difficult, we must insist on discipleship. And we must view leadership development as part of discipleship, not as distinct or divorced from it. Here is why:

1. Discipleship is the only means.

God has designed the end and the means. The end is people from every tribe, tongue, and nation gathered around the throne worshipping Him because they were purchased with the blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9-10). Regardless of what happens this week, what unfolds in the news, the ending has already been made clear: God is redeeming for Himself a people from all peoples.

The end was made clear in the beginning. God preached the gospel to Abraham saying, “All the nations will be blessed through you” (Gal. 3:8). God told Abraham that people from every nation would have God’s righteousness credited to them. At the beginning of the Bible, we find that God is going to pursue all peoples through His chosen people, Israel. At the end of the Bible, we find that God has gathered worshippers from every people group.

In the middle of the Bible is the means, the command Jesus gave us: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). We live in the middle. The means to the glorious end is not leadership development apart from Jesus. The means is not leadership development divorced from discipleship. The means is discipleship. He has commanded us to make disciples of all nations, disciples who will obey everything He commanded.

2. Discipleship impacts all of life.

As Christ is more fully formed in people, the totality of their lives is impacted. Those who are overwhelmed with how Christ has served them will serve others. Those in awe of God’s generosity will be generous. Those who are captivated by God’s mission to rescue and redeem join Him in pursuing people who are far from God. Their serving, generosity, and sense of mission impacts their relationships, their approach to their careers, and their view of life. Their growth as a disciple shapes how they lead at home, in their profession, and through all of life.

Discipleship is the only way to produce leaders that serve and bless the world. If leaders are created apart from Jesus-focused discipleship, they are created without grace-motivated service, generosity, and mission.

To view discipleship as distinct from leadership development is to propose that discipleship does not impact all of one’s life. If a church approaches leadership development as distinct from discipleship, the church unintentionally communicates a false dichotomy—that one’s leadership can be divorced form one’s faith. Being a Christian leader must not be positioned as disconnected from living a godly life in Christ Jesus.

3. Leadership development apart from discipleship becomes overly skill-based.

If leaders are developed apart from Jesus, the emphasis is inevitably on skills and not the heart transformed through Christ. Divorcing leadership development from discipleship can leave people more skilled and less sanctified. And when competency and skill outpace character, leaders are set up for a fall. We don’t serve people well if we teach them how to lead without teaching them how to follow Him. We don’t serve leaders well if we develop their skills without shepherding their character.

It is difficult to say this humbly, but maturing Christ-followers make better leaders. Even authors not writing from a distinctly Christian worldview articulate this truth without realizing it. For example, in his popular books Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership, researcher and author Daniel Goleman builds the case that the most effective leaders are emotionally intelligent. More than a high IQ (intelligence quotient), great leaders have a high EQ (emotional quotient), and are able to create environments and cultures that are highly effective. Effective leaders, Goleman contends, have the ability to manage their emotions, genuinely connect with people, offer kindness and empathy, lead with joy and inspiration, and display the master skill of patience. Sounds a lot like the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a believer (Gal. 5:22-23).

Yet all pushes for integrity and all the instructions on character development from leadership gurus won’t transform a leader’s heart. Inevitably after these authors reveal their findings that “character matters,” their challenges and their writings quickly degenerate into futile attempts to change our own hearts. We can’t change our own hearts. We can’t pep-talk ourselves into transformation. Only Jesus can transform our character. We must develop leaders who are consistently led and fed by Him before they attempt to lead and feed others.

Leadership development apart from being a disciple of Jesus always results in skills apart from character, in performance apart from transformation.

For more information, check out Eric Geiger and Kevin Peck’s Designed to Lead: The Church and Leadership Development.


Talk with an Auxano Navigator about the leadership-discipleship connection.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trevin Wax

Trevin Wax

My name is Trevin Wax. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. My wife is Corina, and we have two children: Timothy (7) and Julia (3). Currently, I serve the church by working at LifeWay Christian Resources as managing editor of The Gospel Project, a gospel-centered small group curriculum for all ages that focuses on the grand narrative of Scripture. I have been blogging regularly at Kingdom People since October 2006. I frequently contribute articles to other publications, such as Christianity Today. I also enjoy traveling and speaking at different churches and conferences. My first book, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, was published by Crossway Books in January 2010. (Click here for excerpts and more information.) My second book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope(Moody Publishers) was released in April 2011.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Startling New Findings on How Churches Welcome Guests

Every church sends a message through how they welcome and treat guests. Those with no strategy send the loudest message: “What we believe has not impacted how we treat you.” Not to be hospitable is to prove the message of God’s grace hasn’t impacted the totality of the church.

Hospitality is the combination of two words: stranger and love. It literally means to show love to strangers and it is very biblical. God’s hospitality toward us is the foundation and motivation for our hospitality toward others. God loved us while we were still strangers. While we were His enemies, He pursued us. And now we are to accept others the way Christ has accepted us. Being hospitable is even a qualification for being a leader in the church (1 Timothy 3:2). Churches must have a plan for how they show love to those who are their guests.

So what are churches doing in terms of their hospitality toward guests? LifeWay Researchinterviewed more than 1,000 pastors on how their churches welcome guests, and here are a few points from what the research revealed:

  • Nearly 80% of the churches have a centralized location where guests can learn about the church.
  • 40% of the churches gift some type of gift to first-time guests.
  • Churches with less than 100 people in attendance are much more likely to ask guests to stand and be recognized than churches with more than 250 people in attendance.
  • The vast majority of churches (96%) with more than 250 people in attendance ask guests to provide their information on cards the church provides.
  • 85% of the churches with more than 250 people in attendance provide some type of informational class for new people to learn about the church. 50% of the churches with less than 50 people in attendance do.

The research is encouraging in that most churches have a plan for hospitality, for showing love to those who visit. When thinking about hospitality to guests who visit your church, it is helpful to think in terms of systems and culture. They feed off one another in that a church culture that values hospitality will ensure systems are in place, and systems will help reinforce a culture. Both are important.

Systems for hospitality include:

  • A plan to ensure guests know where to park, where to bring their children, where the worship gathering takes place
  • Signage and greeters placed at strategic places in a guest’s path (parking lot, doorways, etc.)
  • A process to gather information from guests
  • A plan for follow-up for those who have attended

But if you do not have joyful and loving people in your church, your systems won’t be able to overcome the lack of hospitality from the people.

A culture of hospitality is based upon the following important principles:

  • Ministry leaders must continually remind people that we were once strangers and God pursued us.
  • Those serving as greeters, ushers, etc. must be friendly and joyful people who love the church.

Because this is such an important aspect of a local church’s effectiveness, I am really excited about Dr. Rainer’s new book, Becoming a Welcoming Church. You can find more information about the book here. I highly recommend it. It would be a great tool to give to people in your church to encourage and challenge them to help make your church a welcoming place.

> Read more from Eric.


Learn more about the importance of how your church welcomes Guests – start a conversation with Guest Experience Navigator Bob Adams.


Want to learn how to create an EXCEPTIONAL Guest Experience at your church? Check out Auxano’s Guest Experience Boot Camp, coming to Newport Beach, CA, January 29-30.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How to Check For Blind Spots

One of my mentors, Brad Waggoner, has regularly quipped, “Most people struggle with self-awareness, so why would I think I am somehow different from everyone else?” He is right. Everyone struggles with self-awareness to a degree, and we are foolish if we think we are immune. Our lack of self-awareness in life and leadership is often referred to as our blind spots. I have been leading other leaders for a long time, watching them interact with their teams and with the team they serve on, and I’ve seen three common blind spots in leaders:

1. Many leaders talk longer than they realize.

Many leaders talk longer than they think they do. They can easily dominate meetings because of their convictions, their ideas, and the sheer amount of work to report. But by over-talking in meetings, leaders can unintentionally stifle the team. One practical way to combat the temptation to talk too much is to set a time for yourself and hold yourself accountable not to cross it.

2. Many leaders sound harsher than they mean.

Because leaders can underestimate the power of their position, they can sound harsher than they realize. Every word from the mouth of a leader is received with amplified impact, so leaders who bring sharp critiques to their teams must do so very carefully. If the leader thinks the rebuke is a “5,” the people likely hear it as an “8.” Wise leaders steward their words very carefully.

3. Many leaders change direction more than they know.

Leaders are often about new ideas, change, and vision. Because of that, leaders can err by constantly bringing new direction to the team. The team can sometimes feel as if they have yet to execute properly the last batch of ideas or see the fruit of the last direction before a leader brings a new direction. Effective leaders know that consistent direction over time is far better than constantly shifting the direction of the team.

Of course, there are other common blind spots, but these three can easily hamper a leader’s effectiveness. Blind spots can’t be corrected if the leader doesn’t know they exist. For blind spots to be corrected in a leader’s life, the leader must be in community and humbly listen to others whom the leader trusts.

> Read more from Eric.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Address This or Lose Your Strength

The common leadership counsel to focus on your strengths is wise, with one important caveat. Your weaknesses must be addressed and brought to an acceptable norm or they will overshadow your strengths. Yes, focus on your strengths, but your weaknesses cannot be so overwhelming as to debilitate your leadership credibility. In his book, The Leadership Code, Dave Ulrich challenges leaders to be at least average in key disciplines of leadership or their weakness will crush them. Yet many leaders choose to ignore their weaknesses completely for the following two reasons:

1. We think our strengths are stronger than they are.

One primary reason leaders ignore their weaknesses is they overestimate their strengths. Overestimating your strengths is often synonymous with underestimating your weaknesses. A leader who overestimates his/her own strengths can unwisely ignore his/her weaknesses. The leader can shrug off the need to address certain leadership deficiencies because the leader assumes, “but I am so very strong in this area.” Having a higher view of oneself than one should always leads to foolish decision-making.

2. We hate to admit we are weak.

To address our weaknesses, we must first admit we have them, and we hate to admit we are weak. Pride keeps leaders from admitting their weaknesses and addressing them. Pride always hampers our effectiveness and our learning. But wise leaders admit their weaknesses, rely on others, and seek to grow and mature.

Of all leaders, Christian leaders should be the first to admit and address their weaknesses. Our faith is not for the strong, but for the weak. And we are all weak. We became Christians by recognizing our weakness, our inability to qualify ourselves to stand before God, and by relying on God for His mercy and grace. We continue in the faith by humbly depending on God’s strength, not by standing in our own. We live as Christians by walking in community with others who hold us up, who encourage us, and by refusing to live independently from others.

The cross has already shown us to be weak. Therefore, we can freely admit our weaknesses and seek to grow.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Greatest Value You Can Add to Your Team is Theirs

Unless you are a robotic leader without any heart, you want your team to know you care for them. More specifically, you want each person on the team to know he or she is valued. When there is a healthy relationship between team member and supervisor, work is much more enjoyable and rewarding. When trust is high, team members operate with confidence and freedom. When the relationships are not strong, work is stifled and the joy of the job can be lost.

So how can a leader let each person on the team know they are valued? Harry Reis, a researcher and social psychologist, has invested decades studying what makes a relationship strong, and according to the research, the guiding principle of all healthy relationship is responsiveness. This makes sense when we think about the example of bad customer experience we have endured in our lives. When we are ignored, we feel undervalued. The reason we are so deeply frustrated with bad customer service is we feel we are not being responded to.

But when people feel they are being responded to, their connection with the other person increases significantly. When people you serve sense that you are responding specifically to them they know they are valued. Here are four ways leaders should respond to each person on the team.

1. Respond to their victories.

When those you lead meet a goal, solve a significant problem, or make an impact, respond to them and their victory. If they never hear from you in those moments, they likely wonder if you notice or care. When you recognize people on your team for their wins, you show you value their contribution.

2. Respond to their roadblocks.

Part of a leader’s role is to remove roadblocks that get in the way of each person on the team. If someone on your team knows you are making things easier for them to be successful, they know you care.

3. Respond to their struggles.

If you played sports in high school, you may have heard your coach yell, “Don’t worry if I am yelling at you. Worry if I stop yelling at you.” And while we may not have appreciated the yelling, the message was clear—if the coach was still exhorting you, the coach still believed in you. If he stopped, his belief in you had already stopped. If you ignore the problems with people on your team, they will assume you don’t care as much as you once did.

4. Respond to their lives.

The people on your team are real people (not merely folks who crank out work) with lives, hopes, dreams, and pain. When you respond to the lives of those you lead, you show that you value the person, not just what the person does.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

3 Ways Your Team Struggles with Execution

According to Donald Sull, Charles Sull, and Rebecca Homkes in their Harvard Business Review article titled “Why Strategy Execution Unravels,” execution suffers because people fail to collaborate horizontally. After interviewing and researching thousands of employees, researchers found that execution suffers not because teams are not aligned vertically but because they fail to work together horizontally. It is important to understand the difference.

If you are a leader or if you have a leader, the people you lead or the person you report to are in “your vertical.” Execution often does not suffer because of breakdowns in these relationships. Savvy and wise leaders learn to communicate well, to hold people accountable, to set goals, and to move people in a direction.

But more than “vertical leadership” is required. Working with people on other teams, working laterally across multiple areas, is essential in execution. According to the research, struggles with execution happen because people who need to work together across teams struggle to do so. When coordination falters, so does execution. Why do teams and leaders often struggle here? From my observation, for at least 3 reasons:

1. Lack of community

People desire to help those they trust and respect, but trust takes time to build. And if there is lack of community across teams, working laterally will be a challenge. A staff at a local church, for example, can quickly degenerate into a plethora of sub-ministries that share the same office space, each focused solely on his/her areas of responsibility. When the relationships are not fostered, trust is low; thus, people have a difficult time influencing others laterally.

2. Lack of care

Execution on a broad scale requires multiple people and teams carrying the burden. If execution falters, care and concern likely did not spread widely enough. If care for an initiative or project is localized only to your team, it won’t reach levels of broad adoption. For some things, this is fine, as much of the work of your team is localized to your team. But for projects or tasks or initiatives that spread across multiple areas, a lack of care across those areas will doom execution.

3. Lack of communication

Both community and care require communication. In many ways, lateral leadership is the hardest kind of leadership. You serve alongside people but don’t report to them, and they don’t report to you either. But because leadership is about influence, execution requires influencing people who do not report to you. This will not happen without communication of goals, priorities, and sequencing. If execution is faltering, lateral communication is likely faltering as well.

Peter Drucker quipped, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” The hard work of execution requires more than just you, and even more than just your team.

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Connect with an Auxano Navigator to learn more about execution.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Excellent profile of Pasteur types. Unfortunate what happened to Jason Webb
 
— Ann Stokman
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great article. Thanks. Love this emphasis.
 
— dmmsfrontiermissions
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Thanks, this is interesting and helps the preacher to navigate and plan is goals and objectives during difficult seasons and changing times
 
— Paul B Thomas (@Pentecostaltv)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.