Leaders aren't "wind-up machines" that you wind up once and start in motion. They are persons with needs, distractions, frailties, and blind sides, as well as capabilities to be honored and nurtured.
Monitor leaders' performance
- A frustrated leader can become destructive
- A destructive leader can frustrate many others
- An effective leader needs to be recognized and tagged for future duties
- Unresolved conflict within a task group or ministry group can spill over into general congregational life
Hold leaders accountable: it shows them that their work matters. Examples:
- Take attendance at leadership meetings.
- Set a policy specifying consequences for missing meetings, and then enforce it.
- Resist secrecy; instead publish leadership outcomes, including comments.
- Take action when a leader behaves in a destructive way.
- Track fulfillment of assignments.
Provide "care and feeding." Leaders need pastoral care if they are to provide care to others. Church leaders don't expect payment, but they do expect to be recognized and thanked.
Opportunities for continuing education for leaders not only enhance their skills, but show respect. "Trickle-down inspiration" events tend to have less impact than skill enhancements. For example, instead of sending a leader to a seminar on the importance of managing conflict, send them to a local business school or counseling agency for skills training in how to manage conflict.
Don't expect a leader to attend an event and then come back to "light a fire," unless you have also prepared the congregation for accepting fresh vision or ideas.
One critical gift to lay leaders is spiritual direction by the clergy. When a pastor provides spiritual direction to leaders, it establishes a healthy relationship between pastor and member, and it takes the leader deeper into what they have to offer as a leader and why they offer it.
Don't abuse willingness by assigning too many duties. When a willing leader has too many duties, he or she tends to be less effective in all of them, burn out is likely to occur, and others are denied an opportunity to serve. Better to let a program die than to stretch a leader too thin
Leaders need to be spared the misapprehension that they are indispensable and that they "own" certain activities or groups