In the last few months of the year, I wrote a series of posts on building senior leadership teams. One of the posts focused on how to identify people who should be on that team. Those seven questions that I offered led to a lot of conversation on Twitter. With that, this become the #3 most popular article in 2011.
Senior Leadership Teams: 7 Questions to Identify Who Should be on the Team
When considering who should be on the senior leadership team, many times we try to answer the wrong questions. Sometimes we ask, “What positions should be represented on the team?” In church world, we may think the “Pastor” or “Director” title or people with certain positions automatically qualify. That’s not always the case.
Sometimes we ask, “Who has been around for the longest?” Tenure does not necessarily equate with the profile of the person you want serving on this team. In fact, I’d argue that if you’re stuck and fresh perspective is one of your needs, sometimes the newest person may be who should be on the team.
It’s not about positional leadership or length of ministry. It’s not necessarily the people at the very top of your current organizational structure. However, once you identify the right people for your situation, you should build your structure around your senior leadership team. In other words, every person and every ministry needs to be connected to one person on your senior leadership team.
With that preface, here are seven questions to help you identify who should be on your senior leadership team. This assumes, of course, people have already met the qualifications of leadership defined by Scripture.
- Do they have the leadership gift? This is the key question that shapes everything else. If they aren’t a leader, they shouldn’t be on this team. You also need to consider leadership capacity. We know from Scripture that there are leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands. For this team, you ultimately need leaders of hundreds and thousands.
- Are they a big-picture thinker? In other words, this person always prioritizes the church’s health over what’s happening in their specific ministry area. They are more concerned with alignment to the overall goals rather than defending their turf. They won’t let their passion for a specific ministry get in the way of making decisions that help the entire church take a step forward.
- Is this person a strategic thinker? You need people who can think beyond the daily details. There are places for managers on your team. You need people who can take the game plan and make it happen. Your senior team, though, isn’t the place for managers. Find people who think about the future and then can strategically propose how to get from here to there.
- Can they build teams? In ministry, this is primarily about building and equipping teams of volunteers. As the church grows, you also need people who can develop staff teams. These are the folks who have demonstrated they can identify and empower other leaders. If their instinct is, “I need to do this myself,” you have the wrong person.