How to Find the Right Boss

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The church I lead is hiring 2 new staff members right now and while I’ve learned a ton about hiring (a post coming soon), I have also learned a lot about how to pick a boss. Often, when someone talks about finding a job or a career, we simply look at the company, the perks, the pay, location and the values and mission of the church or organization and decide on that. Yet, studies show people leave jobs more because of their boss than anything else. In fact, people will take less money to stay with a boss they love. One of the questions I ask each person we interview is this: Tell me about your ideal lead pastor. What can he do to help you succeed? What things can he do to hamper your growth? These questions tell me a few things: do they know what they are looking for in a boss? Do they know themselves well enough to know what they need to succeed?

I believe, one of the reasons we don’t succeed or move forward in life is because we aren’t sure what that looks like.

If I was telling someone looking for a job who would not be the boss, but would have a boss I would tell you a few things:

  1. Know who you are. This means that you need to understand your gifts, talents, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. This may seem like an obvious thing, but many are unsure of how they are wired. If you aren’t sure how you are wired, you won’t know how will you fit with a boss or a culture. Do you like teamwork, working alone? Do you want a strict office or more laid back policies? Each church has a different culture based on its leaders, city and history and you need to understand this. I was on staff at a good church in Wisconsin and it was a terrible cultural fit. They wanted high extroverts who wanted a casual business dress with regular office hours. Doing student ministry at the time, this was not a good fit for me. Others would have loved it.
  2. Know what you need to succeed. This follows closely with the first one, but know what environment and kind of boss you need to succeed. Do you want a micro manager who one who is hands off? How much say do you want in the vision and culture of the church? What things are non-negotiable things for you and what are more open handed issues and beliefs? These questions will help you determine if someone or a church is a good fit. Otherwise, you will choose on location, style and pay and those are not always the best reasons to choose a job.
  3. Find someone worth following. If you are not the CEO, Lead Pastor or lead whatever, one of your main concerns is finding a leader you want to follow. That leader will decide so much about your career, livelihood, excitement, passion and happiness in your life that finding the wrong can be devastating. It adds stress, disappointment, hurt, possibly abuse and pain. I can’t emphasize enough that you need to spend time figuring out the kind of leader you want to follow, if the person you are interviewing with or working for right now is the leader you want to follow and make a choice. I think more leaders who not be the lead pastor need to spend more time thinking about the kind of person they are working for or following instead of judging a job based on salary and perks.

In the end, finding the right boss can be just as important as finding the right job. When you find the right boss, I would encourage you to think hard before you go looking for a new one. They aren’t easy to find, as anyone who has worked for the wrong boss can attest.

If you liked this blog post, be sure to sign up to receive my latest blog post every morning in your inbox, (simply click here). I’d love to help you move forward in your life and leadership.

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Why Patience is Hard & Crucial to Great Leadership

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Let’s be honest.

Patience is hard. 

We want things now. We are an instant culture. We want fast food. We want to post pictures instantly. It’s even called Instagram. 

Patience is hard when it comes to leadership as well, not only because of the reasons just mentioned and the way we are wired and how our culture operates but because of how long things take in leadership.

Let me explain.

Leaders are future oriented people. One of the things that separates leaders from followers is the ability of leaders to see a desired future and move people towards it. Because of this, by the time things become a reality, leaders have lived with them for months, sometimes years.

When a church launches a new initiative, ministry, program, a building campaign, buys land or hires a new staff member. The leaders have anticipated this moment for months or years.

Patience is hard. And crucial. 

For leaders, because change feels like an eternity to them, it is easy to forget how whiplashed our followers can feel when a change happens. For a leader, they have read books, prayed, talked to mentors and others leaders, listened, and waited for months to launch something. When their followers give pushback, they think the problem is with the followers (and it may be), but often they are not giving their followers the time to process the change as they had to think about the change.

If you are in a spot as a leader who is about to make a change or launch something, here are some ways to handle it:

  1. Be patient. Yes, you may need to wait a little longer. The time may not be right, the funds may not be there, the momentum may not be in your corner. You may need to have a little more patience.
  2. Give people time. If you took weeks or months to research and process this decision, give your followers at least some time to sit with it. Let them ask questions. Just because someone has questions or gives pushback does not mean they are being divisive or are not on board. They are processing.
  3. Be honest about the loss, not just the excitement of the future. When discussing a change, talk about the loss. With every change their are gains and losses. Leaders see the gains, followers see the losses. Leader, look at the losses and talk about them, let your followers know you hear them. But, help them see the gains.
  4. Be excited and decisive. At some point, the time for patience and waiting is over and it is time to be decisive and move forward. When is that time? It depends on the situation, but you are the leader, so you’ll know.

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