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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.

12 Oct '10

Understanding the wiring of your staff

Posted by T.J. Addington in Healthy leaders, hiring, leadership development
Several long conversations with ministries recently - both church and other have reminded me of the importance of paying close attention to how individuals are wired before we place them in their jobs. In one case, significant mistrust had developed between a senior pastor and his board. Words like “mistrust” and “unqualified” “lack of communication” and “distant” were used and it was obvious that there was a significant gap between the work of the board and the expectations of the leader.



In our dialogue, however, it became very clear that the long standing frustrations had nothing to do with the integrity or qualifications of the leader. Rather, they had to do with how the leader was wired and gifted. In fact, we made two lists on the white board. List one was the list of all those things that the pastor did (or did not do) that caused frustration for the board. They were all organizational leadership issues.


We then made a long list of the leader’s strengths. They were almost all people related, things he did one on one and did very well. His areas of strength lie almost completely outside the organizational arena. They are strengths he uses one on one with people facing problems, in evangelism and in his preaching.


This took the conversation out of the real of “good or bad” “trust or mistrust” and put them into a category that revolved around current job fit. This could mean that this leader will be happier in another job. It could mean that the board needs to change his responsibilities so that he plays to his strengths. That is a process they need to run over the next months.


In our organization we actually have three steps in the hiring process. First, is this someone we want on the team: Do they have the emotional, relational, spiritual and skill healthy that we need? Once we say yes, we need to determine how they are uniquely wired by God. Are they individual producers or organizational leaders? How do they like to be led and how do they lead? We use the SIMA organizational tool for this analysis as well as long dialogue. Finally, we write the job description that is consistent with their gifting and wiring. The job description gets written last, not first.


People are hard wired by God in unique ways and that wiring is not going to change. We can grow in a number of areas but our wiring will not change. The leader above will never be a great organizational leader but he shines in his lane. The more we think along those lines, the better the fit, the lower the frustration and the more return on mission we will experience.