Leading with Leaders
Team leadership is an interesting phenomena.
It’s also an excellant place to grow and develop as a leader.
It can also be a hot bed, full of unique challenges.
MOPS offers a model for leading that is very “team oriented”. It’s an awesome place to grow.
You’ll also experience challenges. Ouch.
One of the lessons I’ve learned is to respect the leaders, and their responsibility, that God has called around you.
Mutual respect is important in team leadeship. Without it- things can get pretty “testy”. (to say the least!)
Mutual respect means- if it’s another person’s area of responsibility, you may give input, when it’s asked for-(un- solicited advice is percieved as CRITICISM) but the final decision is up to the person with that responsibility. It can sometimes looks like this:
The “Hospitality” Team Leader, (usually in charge of decor and meal planning) decides on a “pared down” table settings. The “MOPPETS” Coordinator (insert other Steering Team Position here) doesn’t like it, she either brings in decorations for the tables-(side stepping the Hospitality Leader) .. or criticizes the Hospitality Team Leader during Steering Team Meetings ( usually only if the Hosp Leader is out that night). Both approaches are disrespectful. They comunicate an “I know better than her” attitude, and preclude further “Team Input”. Who wants to even open up to input if yur “final answer” will be side-stepped anyway?
Teams lead TOGETHER by sharing input- and asking questions- about WHY someone is choosing to do something in a certain way. All the time, recognizing that, all input may not be acted on.
The Coordinator holds a unique perspective of the entire MOPS Group- as does each person involved in the meetings planning and preparing. RESPECT means- allowing someone to make decisions with which you may disagree- but you are not going to be held accountable for- or have to bring to completion.
The truth is , God calls leaders to LEAD together. That, in itself, can lead to some sticky situations……a group of leaders frequently, is a group of high energy, opinionated, motivated and passionate people. Each one unique in their opinion— of EVERYTHING.
It’s sometimes hard to know where your responsibility ends- and another persons begins. But- it is SO important to find out. Although MOPS International gives us job descriptions, each MOPS group is unique- and many times the “responsibilities” overlap. A Coordinator may also be the Finance person, the Finance Team Leader may also be the “Publicity” Team Leader…This may be necessary- but also confusing.
With the changing seasons of a MOPS Group- individual roles also shift and change. As God grows a group, The Core Steering Team is added to. While a Newly Chartered MOPS Group may have only “half” the Steering Team Members listed in the MOPS Handbook, an established Group may have all of them, and “added on” new positions to meet the unique needs of their group.
Here are some ways I’ve stomped all over people…. as we’ve attempted to lead as a team….
I’ve been in meetings- where- I sensed a lack of focus— or a “beating of a dead issue” and loudly announced— “HELLO- we’re getting nowhere here- Let’s Move on.” With direct eye contact with the “Leader” in charge. that’s definitely the WRONG WAY!
(it’s a “thing” for me- I hate wasted time- and get bored when there is no longer “fresh content”– the problem isn’t that I voice the frustration or need for direction— it’s in HOW I said it… I have also said things along these lines…. “So-and so—-(addressing the leader in charge) I think we’re at a stand still… do you think we should “table” this one– or take it “off line?”
See the difference?- instead of a “Hostile Takeover” Where I MOVE THINGS on- to another direction—- it’s a redirection to the leader in charge- WITH a gentle confrontation of the area of struggle I see at the moment.
I prefer this one- as I don’t have to APOLOGIZE for this method later!!! My personal rule is: If I offend in public- I apologize in public…. ouch. Not entirely enjoyable.
So, how do we KNOW where the lines are?????
Here are a few suggestions:
1) Ask questions. (What specifically am I, as ____________ Team Leader, responsible for?) When adding new Team members- I’d suggest this be a standard conversation for the Steering Team to have together- reviewing each ones responsibilities)
2) Ask more questions…. When you as a Steering Team leader are concerned about someone elses are of responsibility, instead of ASSUMING ” they just don’t know any better” ask WHY. There is most often a reason you just don’t know about, yet.
3) RESIST the Urge to Conduct a “Hostile Take Over”- “Hostile Take Overs” occur when a Leader decides to push ahead her agenda- disregarding the leader God has placed in another area.
What does that really look like? Well, it might look like MOPS Mentors making the DECISIONS for the other MOPS Leaders—- maybe choosing the incoming Steering Members- instead of offering wise guidance to the rest of the team. Or, it maybe the Finance Team Leader actually choosing all of the Hospitality “dry goods” in order to assure that the funds are spent in a way that the Finance Team Leader decides.
(I haven’t actually witnessed any of these examples— but they are out there.)
Remember: Just because you COULD do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
4) Allow for other Leaders to Grow. Sometimes there are leaders of varying stages of “maturity” both in Christ, and in leadership. It’s ok, to allow “the process” to work out in a leader- confronting issues that are hurtful, or issues of immorality, or issues where the “bigger picture” isn’t being taken into consideration. Honestly- for me- sometimes that means to keep my mouth shut.
I need to remind myself all the time- “I am not the Holy Spirit” Nor is it my job to point out every flaw or error or preference difference and make it “RIGHT” which to me— and probably to you- means- “make it MY WAY”
Leading as a team is awesome—- the Bible tells us that when 2 are walking down a road and one falls- the other is there to help him up—- but pity the man who walks alone.
I’ve walked the leadership road- both ways- trying to do my job— and telling everyone else how to do their job- (my way) truthfully- you end up walking down the road alone. That isn’t “Team Leadership” It’s Team Dictatorship. And, regardless of the position held by the “dictator” it cuts a team apart— severing limbs that are necessary for the team to function as a “body”……
1 Cor 12: 14-19
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
I’d encourage you to read the whole chapter— just a click away!
After you get thru the “messiness” of learning to lead together—- you all gain HUGE benefits—- your weaknesses can be helped by someone elses strengths- and theirs can be, by yours— everyone learns- everyone grows…. and together- down the road we go! (goes?)
(ok the “pseudo” rhyme was unnecessary— but it IS my blog)
Dear Lord- even as I write out these things- i see so many of my own short comings— please continue to grow me as a leader—- and help us all to grow TOGETHER!