Describing the attributes of a good leader has been described variously as “like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall,” or “…capture fog in a net.” However, when social scientists study the behaviors, habits, and attributes of successful and admirable leaders, patterns emerge that inform us of some key dimensions.
The emphatic “and” in the or last sentence points to the fact that there have been many effective leaders who were amoral, insane or both (Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin…). And how many admirable leaders have we known who were well-liked, even revered, but who could not build and run a successfully running organization?
For a leader to be both successful and admirable, CorrValues believes that a person needs strength in what we call the Five C’s of leadership:
Influencing others, motivating them to achieve the church’s mission, represents the primary role of leadership. (Managing, although closely aligned, refers to the nuts and bolts of running the facilities, paying the bills; generally, “keeping the trains running on time.”)
In the CorrValues blog post On Being Board, Part 1, we addressed the Six Big Mistakes Church Boards make, and promised that here in Part 2 we would address Best Practices.
For ease of following this blog, we restate the six mistakes and then the best practices that work as corrections or antidotes to those mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Failing to plan the board’s composition to align with its mission and short- to middle-term plans.
Best Practices #1 – Assign a nominating committee that begins its work with a thoroughgoing analysis of a) the skills and competencies the church board needs over the coming 2-3 years and b) the gaps in those skills and talents the new members need to bring to the table.
The gap consists of the skills and talents the board needs to implement its plans and operate effectively that the incumbent members continuing to serve do not bring to the table.
The spiritual mission and caring ministries of churches obviously makes them vastly different from a for-profit business. Nonetheless, churches must operate in a businesslike manner in order to have the assets and resources to fulfill their mission with Christian love.
The church board bears primary accountability for making policies, establishing procedures and conducting the church’s affairs in ways that empower and enable it to achieve its mission. And fulfilling that accountability begins with recruiting the right board members with the necessary skills for the right reasons at the right time.
This blog post overviews the six most common mistakes church boards make that can – and virtually always do – impede progress.
(On Being Board, Part 2 reviews the six best practices that church boards can employ to advance their spiritual mission and ministries.)