Leaders and Managers Part III

I continue my discussion of leaders and managers on the Congregational Resource Guide website.  I welcome your reactions/responses!


About jwwimberly

I am a Presbyterian pastor who recently retired after thirty years of serving a congregation in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. I am currently a Field Consultant for the Alban Institute as well as author of books dealing with management issues in congregations. I am a devoted potter, throwing pots on the wheel and teaching the wheel when my schedule allows. Finally, I consider Mexico my second homeland since we have a home in San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico.
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2 Responses to Leaders and Managers Part III

  1. Do you know of good resources to help individual board members create a yearly plan for each person to be active in working on goals and activities that will be of benefit to the congregation they serve? I have one, and various business-y types now want to make it better.

  2. jwwimberly says:

    James: When I have seen people do this, they oftentimes make their own resource using Excel-type spread sheets. Specific tasks are created, people assigned to carry them out, periodic check-in dates created and a target completion date set. There are also a bunch of project management/workflow software packages one can purchase. Your business types will surely have a great debate about which one is best. We have used the Microsoft Project to manage a healthcare project we created in Ethiopia. If you decide to make your own, I’d love to see what you create.

    Whenever one is setting performance parameters, I encrouagFor example, i people to make sure that a non-judgmental environment is created. By non-judgmental I mean that we don’t jump to blame people or task forces for not getting things done on time. There are lots of reasons a project may not hit its targets. For example, it could be a flawed project design, new variables intervened such as an economic recession or people simply underestimated the amount of work that needed to be done and the time it would take. Of course, it could also be that someone just isn’t working hard or effectively on the project. But if the latter is the starting point of evaluation, people will attempt to cover-up failure or blame others for the failure. Successful teams embrace failure as an opportunity to recalibrate the plan and timeline. Such a methodology is what scientists use. When an experiment fails, they analyze the reasons for the failure and continue the experiment until they get a successful endpoint. We can do the same.

    So I commend you and your leaders for wanting to nail down strategies and timelines. As we do so, we just need to be sure that we create an environment that encourages constructive rather than destructive evaluation and critique of progress. I hope this helps.

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