There’s More to Leadership than Your Expertise
The item today is recruiting. Here’s the point:
- Recruiting: In my opinion, recruiting is one of the 4 Taboo Words in Ministry. Now that I have your attention, don’t recruit, give people a reason to step up and work in the music ministry. Define why it’s important and ask if anyone wants to do it. If you don’t get a response, ask again. By the way, make it sound important and make it interesting.
Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people. - Bryan Tracy
The Transformational Leader creates synergy and unity by empowering those in God’s service willing to give of their time and energy in God’s service to the church. The volunteer pool at most churches can be very large and very skilled, if properly utilized. I served in one church where the volunteers were called “Members in Ministry.” A strong volunteer work force will not only help get the work done, but might bring fresh insights to the same old chores. They will also become advocates for whatever project with which they are emotionally connected.
Learn to be the leader
Leadership skills you employ in this area are important to the transformation of members in ministry into workers, critics into advocates, and detractors into supporters. Learn to define, recruit, delegate, support, nurture, and facilitate. The Transformational Leadership model enables leaders to get the right people, tell them what is needed, let people complete their tasks, and celebrate the results. After all, professional leaders lead. If we did everything, we would be called professional doers. Leaders lead. This means getting out of the way.
If you have lots of workers, then learn to limit your time with those who are not as productive and give more to those who produce. Here’s a chance to use the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your member support time with the 20% of the people who produce 80% of the results. Gather the remaining 80% of the members in ministry who produce 20% of the results into groups. Support them as a group, not individually. This will give you a major bounce on your results and free up enormous amounts of time.
Learn to Influence
The first principle of leadership is having someone to lead. This might seem logical. But it is very difficult for some leaders to ask someone else to do something. Once you have earned the relationship, then it is easier to ask someone to participate in a program that you lead. Leadership is first and foremost, being a person of influence. Decide who you want to influence, and then create the language and persona to influence those whom you want to attract.
Simon Sineck discusses these thing in a TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action and in this video Start With Why. The first duty of the leader is to develop language that explains why it’s important to participate. We want to connect with the passion people have for ministry. Be good at explaining why people should participate. The reverse polarity of recruiting is influencing people to step-up to a higher functioning for your team.
Recruiting is a Skill
Here’s an excerpt from my book, Moving Spirits, Building Lives: Church Musician as Transformational Leader (please reframe the work “recruit” as you read:
Recruiting is a skill, not a chance roll of the dice. Get to know people – what makes them tick, their skills and talents, and their interests. This sounds like the background work you did to create your vision statement, doesn’t it? Well, it is similar. Recruit people who want to do something worthy. Recruit a person who wants to be invested in something that is consistent with your goals and passions. Don’t recruit people who want to set up a power base and hold on to it! This is critical! Recruit people to help for a specific time and for a specific purpose, and then rotate people and responsibilities. This is a very important principle! This principle will actually help you recruit. People will say yes more readily if they know that they will not get stuck doing the job forever. This is one of the greatest challenges to overcome in recruiting; so clearly define the scope of what you are asking them to do.
Define the task for which you are recruiting. Tell the person how much work is needed, how much you anticipate it taking, and how long the commitment will be. The normal tendency is to downplay the commitment by saying something like “It will only take a little time.” Don’t cloud your reputation in future efforts by creating the opinion that you are not straight with people or that you are just giving them a “sales job.” Tell it like it is! Be straight! They will appreciate you for that and even work harder than they originally agreed to do.
It is really difficult to take a chance on being turned down when you ask someone for a commitment to help. Assume that people want to help. They deserve an honest description of what they are being asked to do. And they deserve the chance to say yes or no. Be prepared for a “no” answer. It is better to get that answer than to have an uncommitted volunteer doing a less-than-adequate job.
The first and consistent rule of leadership is clarity. Be clear on what you are asking for and how you construct the message. Getting people on board is the first step, keeping them aligned and focused is the ongoing challenge. More on that next time in the module, “Coaching.”
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 recruiting or tips for success, please comment.
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