In over 40 years of work in music ministry, I was really fortunate to work in several significant situations that were very fulfilling, professionally satisfying, and helped me to grow personally in my leadership skills.
I’ll be sharing important things that I learned that I wished I had known before. There are many points of wisdom that I know in looking back. Some of them are:
• You don’t know what you don’t know/have a coach I made every mistake you can imagine. I made most of these mistakes due to my naïveté and lack of experience. Looking back at every situation, I could have spared myself lots of grief and saved lots of time if I had known what I know now, which is, you need a coach. I thought that I couldn’t afford to hire a coach. In reality, I couldn’t afford not to hire a coach. I now have two coaches that help me succeed. It an indispensable resource that every leader needs. We never stop growing personally like we never stop growing musically.
• Create a feedback team Learn whom you can trust In several churches, I developed a team of three influential members to give me feedback on my work. I really didn’t know how to fully utilize their skills and wisdom. In retrospect, I would have used a coach to help me develop a process in which I could get helpful feedback. If the conversation is not structured and purposeful, then people just provide affirmations because they like you or feel like they have to find something to criticize, even if there is no valid reason.
• Learn about power You need to understand both formal power and informal power. In any group, there are two types of power structure the formal (staff, committees, boards, etc.) and the informal (power people who have an unusual amount of influence). It’s informal power that will get you if you are not aware that it exists and if you don’t know how to deal with it. This falls into the realm of politics. I’m not good at politics, so this has been and still is a problem for me. Basically, I continually work on building relationships and speak directly to issues using facts. The old quote comes to mind, “Keep your friends close and keep your enemies closer.”
• Be a continuing student of leadership Never stop working on self. I have said this before and continue to learn more each year. There is no end to learning. There is only an end to willingness to learn.
What I learned in mega churches has given me wisdom to share with those who will listen. Mistakes are learning opportunities. Mistakes can also damage self esteem and confidence. I did not perform up to my ability in many instances because I lost my confidence with the political influences attempting to undermine my success. I don’t let that happen any more and now know how to advise people on ways to deal with adversity in ways that don’t undermine our confidence.
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