10 questions that help leaders shape a thriving culture
Leaders are people of influence who model the way for others. Their behaviors allow others to follow and move forward in new ways. When congregations move slower than anticipated or seem to be “stuck,” I ask myself these 10 questions to see if leaders have quit modeling the way.
1. Are leaders creating a sense of urgency? Complacency among leaders is a huge red flag for me. To create and sustain energy around desired changes, people need to see and hear that consistent progress is being made. Other people won’t engage in the process if it seems like just another good idea that’s never realized.
2. Are leaders positive and proactive? Leaders are culture creators who build up the body of Christ. They inspire hope and possibilities and have a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity.
3. Do leaders practice faith 24/7? Leaders should be known for praying daily, worshiping weekly, reading the Bible, giving generously, engaging in caring conversations, and serving at and beyond the congregation. If they’re not doing what we ask every member to do, why should others follow?
4. Do leaders set 30 day ministry goals – for themselves? Leaders should constantly be asking, “What can I do this month to grow deeper in faith, encourage others, and help our congregation fulfill its mission and goals? When assembling teams, I look for leaders who have a bias toward action and don’t wait for others to tell them what to do.
5. Do leaders offer encouragement? Leaders should be known for celebrating the gifts of members and the contributions they make – both privately and publicly. They play the role of cheerleaders, bringing out the best in others.
6. Do leaders address counterproductive behavior as it occurs? Leaders refuse to engage in gossip and call out others who do. Leaders make note of when balls are being dropped and are willing to ask, “How do we get things back on track?” Leaders make note of when trust has broken down among individuals and teams and challenge leaders to address these issues in a timely manner. Leaders find ways to speak their truth in grace-filled ways that allow the congregation to thrive.
7. Do leaders share life and faith stories? Thriving congregations are typically storytelling congregations where the people of God share God sightings and stories of how they experience God in daily life. Leaders make their faith transparent by sharing stories about how they practice faith and experience God throughout the week.
8. Do leaders “lead by proposal?” Understanding that, “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem,” leaders find ways to become unstuck and move forward by offering new ideas and proposals to consider.
9. Do leaders “find out” when they don’t know? Good leaders are naturally curious. If members start missing worship or become less involved, they call and find out what’s going on. If a leader misses a meeting or doesn’t complete a project, they make contact and find out. When they see good things happening within the congregation they find out how these “bright spots” might be replicated elsewhere. If they’re wondering what other members are thinking and doing, they “find out” by asking. They don’t assume – they take time to ask!
10. Do they display ongoing regard for others? Knowing that trust is the glue that holds together all relationships and organizations, leaders do everything in their power to maintain a sense of ongoing regard for one another.
What areas of modeling do you need to pay closer attention to in the future? In what ways has your organization been impacted when these behaviors have NOT been present?