There’s More to Leadership than Your Expertise
The item today is Nurture: The old saying, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” is true. Enough said.
In his book, Dynamic Worship, Kennon Callahan points out the work of the church musician that is not visible. One of those responsibilities is nurture. The dictionary definition is “encourage somebody or something to flourish.” Leadership and ministry are both based on relationship. Nurture happens within a trusted relationship. Creating trust means that the person trusting responds to the leader because of the trust, and not because of power or position.
Nurture for members in ministry and professional ministry colleagues creates an ensemble of excellence where all the players function at a high level. Let’s unpack some of the basic skills of nurture.
Engagement: Listening and observing
Over-talking and giving directives is an autocratic form of leadership which has limited effectiveness. Leaders don’t need to have all the right answers. Leaders have good questions.
As musical conductors, we allow people to perform and don’t sing the notes for them. We observe posture, mouth position, breathing, and listen carefully in order to provide the proper feedback.
Musicians as leaders listen and ask questions of committee members, staff, clergy and other stakeholders in the community. Listening is among the top leadership skills, and the best way to provide nurture for unhappy parishioners – observe and listen to what they say. Their issue might be very different from what the words they are using. Listening is so close to loving that it’s hard to tell the difference.
Model: Always acting in integrity
Integrity in not something you talk about or propose. Integrity is a way of being. Team members, choir members, and colleagues will respond to what you do more than what you say.
If your actions are inconsistent with your words, the actions usually speak louder that the words. The old saying that the sermon lived is more powerful that the sermon preached is still very true. Followers are somewhat like children, they will copy what you do regardless of what you say. Besides, if you are consistent people can track better.
Management of Self: Staying Calm and maintaining a positive attitude
When those in leadership are anxious,the whole culture is anxious. A nervous conductor provokes less than quality results.
Members will follow their passion and continue if there is fulfillment in their work. Most ministry leaders tend to avoid conflict. That’s not good.
If there is conflict move toward the conflict and remain calm. Make calm, conscious contact and avoid the use of the word “you” in your communication. Stick to the facts and seek to understand what they are thinking rather than lobbying for your point of view. Like attracts like. If you are positive you attract positive. James Allen, author said, “You don’t attract what you need, you attract what you are.” Remember, the leader is a person of influence. It’s your choice on how you want to influence people.
Empowerment: Delegating and Coaching
Delegation is a skill to learn. It does require being able to define the desired result, allowing those to whom you delegate to participate in developing the action plan, and then defining touch points to mentor them on the process. This is not micromanaging. This is nurture of leaders and potential leaders. Coaching is different than mentoring. Mentoring is teaching. Coaching is asking questions and allowing leadership to improve their performance. Empowerment is like rehearsal.
Change Management: Inspiring and Leading Transformation
Confronting the uphill battle in ministry which is, “We’ve never done it that way before!” can be difficult. With most everything in their world changing, church members want to be in a safe place at church.
It’s our duty and delight to facilitate their faith journey in a way that they experience change as transformation, both personal and organizational. Inspiring transformation is our job. This is not unlike our faith journey. Paul said, “Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Leaders inspire and encourage others to grow, both in equipping disciples and in equipping leaders on teams.
Leadership, ministry, communications, and conducting are all based on creating and maintaining effective relationships. Nurture relationships in everything.
Be the best you can be as a professional church musician, which is very different from a musician that does church music.
If you want to share other steps for nurture or tips for success, please comment.
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