If you’re like me, your leadership might seem to get bogged down sometimes. It can appear stuck in the myriad of things to do.
You’re busy and working hard. A couple of weeks, even a month can go by, and nothing seems to have moved forward.
This experience is common because leadership in the local church is an intricate, layered and long-term oriented process.
As a result, it’s easy to lose sight of several basic leadership practices that end up under-utilized or even buried under the pile of stuff to do, burdens to carry, and problems to solve.
The internal consequence is frustration, which nearly always reduces your effectiveness. Frustration sucks the energy and creativity out of you.
You might become consumed with why some things don’t work, rather than focusing on a little progress every day. In fact, it might seriously hijack your ability to solve problems and move forward. (And the truth is, lots of things are working well, but you lose perspective.)
You can miss these simple and basic practices, the very things that help you break loose and get unstuck.
Don’t let the following five practices get buried in frustration, or even just stuck in the normal and large list of stuff to do.
Which ones if used today would help you move forward and give your leadership the boost it needs?
5 Under-Utilized Practices:
1) Get the right people in the room
I invest a good amount of effort to get the right people in a room together, at the right time, for the right reasons. I never cease to be amazed at the power of a wisely and intentionally convened group in contrast to a “regular” meeting.
It’s easy to waste time by meeting with five or six people, one to one, multiple times! Get them all in a room at the same time. Meet for a purpose and get the job done. It’s much faster and so much more productive.
Regular meetings as a foundation are essential, but you can significantly increase the outcomes by adding or deleting the right people and working hard to set a very specific agenda.
Avoid at all costs having a regular meeting where you go around the table, and each person gives a general update.
2) Pick up the phone
The potential impact of a 10-minute phone call to start something in motion is staggering.
It’s easy to make the call too complicated because you want to cover all the bases in the first call. So you put the call off. I’ve done that many times. I’ve waited because I think I need an hour for the call, or I need to do two hours of homework first. Just get it started.
Maybe you want to ask someone if they are interested in a job, or starting a new ministry, or engaging in a partnership. Pick up the phone. A yes response indicating interest then generates the momentum that makes real progress.
3) Make a decision
It’s true that some big decisions require significant time to pray, process, and percolate. But from years of experience, I’ve learned that most decisions can be made relatively quickly.
Most of your everyday decisions can be made in 24-48 hours or less. One to two days gives you time to pray, think, make a couple of calls, check the budget, etc.
And as your experience increases, some decisions require no more than a few minutes.
And, there are many decisions you don’t need to make. Ask a few right questions and empower someone else to decide.
Again, if someone else needs to make the decision, get the decision moved to that person today.
4) Have the tough conversation
Hopefully, tough conversations are not required as a daily part of your leadership. If that’s the case, something more significant than one conversation needs your attention.
Don’t put it off, have the discussion today.
In my experience, most leaders know what to do, they just don’t want to do it. They know what to say, but fear of the conversation and what “might” happen shuts the process down.
It rarely goes as bad as you think, and even if it is rough or doesn’t go as well as you hoped, you will move forward because you had the conversation.
Here’s my top coaching tip for you. When you have the tough conversation, don’t waste the moment. It’s already awkward, so don’t go three-quarters of the way. Go all the way. Get it all said. Don’t beat around the bush. That makes it worse, and you must do it again!
5) Take a moment to pray.
I’ve saved the best for last. In dozens of personal conversations, leaders have opened up to me about their prayer life and overall prayer practices.
Even among the most positive stories where the leader has a robust and consistent prayer life, once they hit the “office” and are running for the day, the opportunity to stop and pray often gets lost.
There simply is no greater power to help you get unstuck in the moment than prayer.
Not every prayer is about a big huge deal. But if it’s about God’s purpose in your church, it’s not too small! As long as it comes from your heart, the Holy Spirit takes it from there. He adds the power not you.
Devise a reminder for yourself. Maybe wear a wristband. Or you can set your phone to chime every couple hours or so, to represent a reminder question. . . “What’s the prayer need right now?”
You can come up with a technique that works for you, but don’t miss out on this great leadership practice.