Leading people looks a little different depending on the environment in which you lead. As a charge nurse in a local emergency room I lead a team of people who were responsible for peoples lives. As a Children’s Pastor the team I lead has much different responsibilities. Despite the different environments that we lead in there are certain principles that apply to nearly all of them. One that I want to share here is the idea of setting standards.
Obviously setting high standards is very important in an emergency room. Without high standards bad things happen. I would argue that high standards are even more important in ministry. While people’s lives are at stake in the emergency room, peoples souls are what we risk in ministry. So, what is the principle?
I have found that regardless of where you set the standards the majority of people will strive to meet the standard. By my estimation somewhere around 80% of people will do all they can to live up to the standards you set. Of the remaining 20%, half will never live up to the standard no matter what you do and half will exceed it no matter where you set the standard.. I have found this to be true no matter where the standard is set. I suppose there is a point where the standard could be set too high and the number that reach it would be less. What does this mean for leaders?
Expect great things. Regardless of the environment in which you lead, expect greatness from the people you lead. Achieving greatness requires hard work. This can keep us from striving for greatness. If YOU don’t have high expectations for your ministry, don’t expect your team to.
Communicate well. As I said above most of the people on your team will live up to the expectations that you set. In fact most of the people on your team WANT to live up to your expectations. They can only do this if they KNOW what the expectations are. Communicate them clearly. Communicate them well. Communicate them often.
Evaluate often. No one likes a micromanager, but you have to know how well your team is doing. Make them a part of the evaluation process. Look at what you are doing. Remind yourself of why you do what you do and see if you are achieving that goal.
Do it with love. As we communicate, as we evaluate we must do all that we do with love. Our desire to achieve great things, to have great impact in the lives of kids can cause us to forget to love people. It can lead us to act harshly towards the people that we lead. Remember that the people you lead are on your team because they are passionate about the same things that you are passionate about.