I learned in church revitalization that many times entrepreneurial-type leaders disappear when things aren’t working well. People who like big visions and want to see progress around them don’t hang around when the church is holding on to the status quo.
If the church wants to argue about paint color the real leaders will often find another place to serve. (Unfortunately, it might be in the church, and it might not be.) These leaders aren’t as interested in the maintenance mode of organizational life.
Consequently, when I have entered a church needing revitalization, I find there are fewer small business owners, CEOs, and civic or community leaders. (And that’s why I usually go into the community looking for them. It’s hard to move things forward without visionary, risk-taking leaders.)
This is true in attracting new staff members also. The ones you often need to turn things around – innovative, creative, energetic, visionary leaders – are hesitant to come to a plateaued or declining church.
One frequent question I receive from those trying to do church revitalization is how they can attract new leaders.
I have a simple solution. In my opinion, this is the number one principle for attracting leaders – to any organization.
Give people a problem to solve.
Hand out visions more than you hand out tasks. Tell people where you want to go, but let them know you haven’t yet figured out how to get there.
(Side note, I tell my wife this when she wants me to go shopping with her. Give me a challenge. “I need a blue blouse and haven’t found one anywhere.” I’m on it!)
Here’s the deal. If the answer is already found, you can hire a manager for the job – and you’ll likely want and need a good one. You’ll have other problems to solve, and a good manager can free you up to lead. (We need good managers.)
But to attract a leader…
Help them see a need, give them some freedom to find a solution, and make sure they are supported as needed, but then get out of the way. Let them go. Allow them actually to lead something.
Leaders seek opportunities to lead.
Challenge, opportunity, problems, something everyone says can’t be done – those type environments fuel a leader’s energy. It’s what will attract leaders to your team.
Are you in an environment that attracts leaders? What do you think makes it so? What doesn’t?