February 4, 2015 Tony Morgan

How to Lead a Senior Leadership Team That Works

A strong Senior Leadership Team is an essential component of a church. We’ve even found that on average, churches that report having a unified SLT are growing more than twice as fast as those that do not.

But unity in and of itself isn’t everything. People are unified to the detriment of their organizations all the time. We need leaders who are willing to push each other and be pushed, who are not all cut from the same cloth and bring a variety of perspectives. From my time working with churches across the country, I’ve seen firsthand that churches need more gutsy senior leadership teams, and pastors who value them.

If you think you’re ready to build a SLT that makes your church stronger than ever before, ask yourself if you’re ready to make these changes:

  1. Involve high quality leaders of different ages–both men and women.
    Nothing will keep you stuck in a rut like surrounding yourself with people who look and think just like you. It’s also a good idea to refresh your team every so often for the same reason.
  2. Make group, face-to-face time about vision, not tasks.
    Tasks, information, details… most of that stuff can be covered by email or in individual meetings. When the group is together, take advantage of the collective brain power and energy to build momentum toward the vision. Get out of your normal environment from time to time to encourage thinking outside the box.
  3. Cultivate relationships with your SLT, and help them get to know each other.
    If the only time you spend with your SLT is for grinding through difficult decisions about church stuff, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. The unity of the team grows as people get to know and trust each other. You’ll also see more honesty and willingness to take risks when you are brainstorming and talking vision. Do fun stuff together and see your group’s dynamic change.
  4. Create an innovation culture.
    Set the expectation that your leaders can dream and propose crazy ideas. Back up what you say consistently by celebrating the wins and reviewing the missteps without throwing people under the bus.
  5. Don’t be a know-it-all.
    If you never listen to your senior leadership team’s ideas and feedback, you’re a dictator, not a leader.

Your church’s culture flows from the top down, and a healthy SLT can make all the difference in the world. (For more on how, check out our Next Level Teams report.)

Do you have other examples of how to get the most out of your SLT?



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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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