Mentoring Matters

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutesMentoring is not a special program for special people, but a business focused value for valuing employees focused on the business. A great piece was written over at Fast Company about Intel’s new mentoring movement, and it informed some of my thinking for this blog post. A mentor/mentee relationship is more than merely providing advice; it’s a two-way relationship where the mentor and the mentee both work with – and benefit from – the other. Anyone can mentor, regardless of position. What matters is the experience and wisdom of the mentor, not the job title or organizational hierarchy. Intel does a great job of demonstrating that, so be sure to read that article. “The currency of a successful mentor/mentee relationship is personal satisfaction.” – from FounderCorps As with much of what I write about, I orient mentorship programs around clearly defined Objectives, supported by Goals, articulated through Strategies, and tracked through Actions. OBJECTIVES (Why) GOALS (What by When) STRATEGIES (How) ACTIONS (Who) Good Structure/Principles for Mentoring Set a Start and Stop Date That’s not to say a person cannot, or should not, be a life-long mentor, but by defining a start/stop date, the expectations for specific training or availability are clearly understood within a defined timeline. Document Progress & Feedback Though relational connection is key and should trump a checklists of task lists (that’s coaching, not mentoring), it is helpful to document the objective and goals for both parties. Tracking milestones along the way both ensures the focus is maintained and that expectations are being met. To be clear: Coaching is task oriented, mentoring is relationship oriented. Coaching is performance driven,...

Before They’re Fired – A Personal Improvement Plan

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutesWhen you hear from high-caliber, top-quality people who were let go from a job, they’ll often tell you they heard the phrase “you just weren’t a good fit”. That can be another way of saying “we didn’t know how to manage you.” In my experience, the key to managing highly artistic or technical staff requires a different managerial approach that helps bridge the gap between their tremendous skills/abilities and the culture of the organization. What I’ve learned about leading talented, creative team members goes past the Human Resources checklists with a deeper dive to discover the root of the problems. As author Bob Hamp talks about in his books, the issue is almost never the issue; it’s symptomatic of the real problem. Sometimes, the soft skills of communication and inter-staff roles is creates a disconnect between these artists and techs and the rest of the staff. In my coaching and consulting,  I often end up helping these creatives to identify blind spots and areas where growth is necessary in the context of a church staff. For a number of reasons that have everything to do with a lack of humility, broken places in my heart, and poor examples from my childhood and early jobs, I found myself as the ‘black sheep’ of a large, fast-growing church staff. At the too-young age of 23, I was leading a team of volunteers, running a brand new television and tech arts ministry, and in way over my head. I was talented and ambitious but lacked the emotional intelligence or leadership experience to understand that I was running over staff and volunteers under the guise of innovating and blazing a trail. Oh, I...

Delegating Responsibility with Delegated Authority

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutesThe difference between delegating responsibility and giving away delegated authority is like eggs and ham; the chicken is involved; the pig is committed. It’s safe to say most of us have worked for a manager that used delegation as a means to a task-based end. They wanted things done, so they delegated responsibility down the ranks to employees who were told to get tasks done – or else. This kind of delegation is more accurately labeled abdication; a failure to fulfill a responsibility or duty. When a poor manager delegates all responsibility, they are setting the employee up to take the blame if the project or task doesn’t meet expectations set at least two levels above their role. A good manager will not delegate responsibility without also providing delegated authority to ensure the employee has the ability to give direction to others in the organization, regardless of hierarchy or rank. Former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, summed this up nicely: Don’t be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it. Force responsibility down and out. Find problem areas, add structure and delegate. The pressure is to do the reverse. Resist it. – Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense There are several sequential keys Mr. Rumsfeld prescribes in this short and powerful quote, and they provide us with a roadmap on how to delegate authority. Force Responsibility Down and Out Simply delegating tasks misses the opportunity to shift your staff from an employee mentality to an ownership mentality. I have a friend that works for a large defense contractor. His stories about...

Church Leaders, Success, and Failure

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute   “All success is shared. All failure is the leader’s sole responsibility.” At first glance, this statement may seem to be either untrue or, at the least, unfair. This statement is the linchpin of great leadership, though, and the implications have far-reaching effects. When all success is shared the leader is quick to point out various members of the team who contributed to the win. These leaders are also the first to recognize that “crap only rolls uphill.” If there is a failure, the leader of a group owns the responsibility (“the buck stops here”), even if the mistake was not made by the leader. In this way, the team has greater trust in their leader and rallies together to learn from the mistake and keep it from happening again, if at all possible. Humble leaders get this principle and teach it to their leaders-in-training. People will often follow this kind of leader farther and longer than any other leader type. QUESTION: In what ways can your own leadership style adapt to reflect this reality? If you need this reality in your leadership, either get an hour of training or join Anthony’s coaching network. Fill out the short form below. Name(required) Email(required) Interested in:(required) Online Live Video Training - $99 3 Months Weekly Coaching More information Church Name(required) Anything else I need to know?...

Church Tech Arts Coaching

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutesIronically, the questions I’m asked the most by church technical leaders are not technical in nature; rather, they’re focused on the overarching aspects and responsibilities of leading staff and volunteers, managing multiple projects, organization and prioritization, and their own spiritual journey. Because this happens so frequently, I walk a small group of 6 or less tech arts leaders through personal coaching over three months. Here’s how it works: This private group is made up of creative and technical arts people from growing churches across North America. Some are very large, others are small rapid growth churches. I spend 45 minutes to one hour per week with each person via live video on Google Hangout. During these times, I  providing personal coaching and mentoring for their growth & development and set weekly goals for them to achieve by the following week’s meeting. My coaching focuses on increasing their relational effectiveness with staff and volunteers, developing better leadership and management skills, as well as encouraging a deeper spiritual walk. Additionally, I use part of each week’s time to provide consulting on technical & organizational issues specific to their situation. Every fourth week, we will spend an hour as a group, bringing all of the individuals together for an online round-table discussion using Google Hangout. This provides peer-to-peer networking, helpful connections, and a small accountability group for sharing successes, challenges, and prayer requests. The cost is low, but the commitment is high. At only $500 per month, this is a very strong value. However, I do require that each individual take this seriously, because I limit the group to a maximum of 6 people. Missing more than one session removes that person from the group, as the group also misses...

Compliance Disguised as Submission – A Tale of the Heart

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutesIn my vocational work on staff at three churches and in my non-vocational work for several companies, I have struggled to know when to submit myself to authority and when, well…not to do so. What I’ve learned is that I was confusing submission with compliance. At first, I didn’t realize there was a difference, until I heard a pastor friend of mine tell me a story that illustrated the profound difference. A statement was made by a church leader about staff being expected to submit to the authority placed over them unless, and only unless, the request was “illegal, unethical, or immoral.” I think we’d all agree that those are three clear qualifiers. My friend asked about an additional qualifier: “But what if it’s unhealthy?” We can be asked or tasked with something that is completely God-honoring, but at a time or manner that is not healthy. As a former church Technical Director, I found myself in this place often, especially as when it came to doing “just one more thing” (sound familiar?) for a ministry, pastor, or for the weekend service. This kept me out-of-balance in my relationships for a long time. My struggle was that I wanted to please my boss, and I was working in ministry, so why wouldn’t I just submit to everything asked of me? After all, it was for God, ultimately, and nothing being asked of me was “illegal, unethical, or immoral,” but it was often very unhealthy for my life. Part of the blame was on me: I didn’t talk with my boss about being overtasked very often in my first vocational job, and...