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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

22 Sep '12

Independence is a killer of organizational excellence

Posted by T.J. Addington in Healthy leaders, unhealthy leaders
Organizational excellence - in any ministry or organization requires leaders to work in cooperation toward common goals. Too often, however, leaders want independence rather than interdependence, leaving the organization with multiple directions and a significant lack of alignment. 

In recent conversations with a large church staff, one of the staff members made the comment that what had been rewarded on their staff was the development of successful ministries rather than cooperative efforts - leaving the church with ministry silos without a common direction. There was no incentive to work together.

Here is an irony: Leaders insist that those on their team play ball together and follow their direction. In many cases, those very leaders are unwilling to to play ball with other leaders or to make themselves accountable for their own alignment and cooperation. They insist on alignment below them but do not submit or work toward alignment above them.

The independence of ministry leaders - doing their own thing - hampers many churches from experiencing greater impact and other ministry organizations the same. 

The sad thing is that they are modelling the antithesis of what they tell their own teams. And it does not go unnoticed. The sadder thing is that lack of interdependence, the humility to get on the same page with others and intentional cooperative efforts keeps the organization from experiencing the impact it could otherwise have.

It raises an interesting question. Why do those who lead so often find it hard to follow? And if I cannot follow (if I am part of an organization) do I have the moral authority to lead?  Our fierce independent streak is remarkably close to how Isaiah describes our sinfulness - "each of us has turned to our own way (Isaiah 53:6)." 

Organizational ministry is not an individual sport like golf. It is, rather a team sport like football, basketball or soccer where unless everyone knows their position and cooperates with the rest of the team and executes plays together there will not be a winning team. Often ministries who could be a winning team are leaving great spiritual influence on the table because they are in a team sport but their leaders are doing an individual thing and ignoring their coach. 

Before I am a leader, I am a follower. Even when I am a leader I am a follower. Leaders lead - and they follow, if part of an organization. When they don't, they lose their moral authority to lead.