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Appraising church leaders is just as important as appraising church employees because accountability for achieving objectives is what drives performance.
Church leadership should be evaluated in the same way employees are and given measurable targets to achieve.
For example, the volunteer coordinator may have a target to increase volunteer participation by 10% (measurable). So if there are 100 active volunteers, the target is to increase that number by 10% or 10 volunteers.
Goals are only as effective as the person who is responsible for achieving them and should be considered a condition of employment and leadership rank.
Church leaders (whether paid or not) need to be held accountable for achieving goals that impact the organizations’ ability to achieve its mission.
3 Levels of Leaders You May Want To Evaluate
1. Church Board
A church is only as successful as the people with oversight responsibility.
This makes it critical to ensure the right people are placed in board positions and are systematically evaluated.
This governing church board has overarching responsibility for every aspect of the church and board members need to be evaluated on their ability to help the organization achieve its mission.
For example, one responsibility of a church board is financial oversight and ensuring responsible stewardship of its resources.
Assessing church boards entails measuring church performance against a board members’ effectiveness in its responsibilities.
For example, if the church has a strategic objective to develop an outreach program for the homeless in its community, the board should be assessed for its ability to meet that objective.
This annual appraisal ensures that the board fulfills its fiduciary and oversight responsibilities.
Begin the process by setting aside an annual meeting of the board for planning and to ask some crucial questions about how well the church is doing.
ECFA has some great sample board evaluation forms to get you started.
If your church is not yet ECFA accreditation, you might want to consider it to learn best practices and to demonstrate church financial accountability.
2. Church Management Team
The church board directs the strategy for the church to achieve its mission.
However, it is the church management team that is responsible for getting it done.
Church strategy is handed down to church leaders and the management team to develop and achieve goals that support the strategy.
This group of employees should be evaluated by the board for their ability to achieve church goals.
Church goals should be written in the SMART goal format to ensure there are measures for success.
Board members may need to be trained to deliver effective performance appraisals, so provide them with the necessary tools and create a structured process to make it as easy as possible.
These church leaders should have a clear job description that includes performance goals that are used for their assessment.
These documents should be reviewed and updated on an annual basis to ensure they reflect current strategic initiatives.
3. Church Volunteer Leaders
The next level of evaluations should be done on church volunteer leadership.
Those volunteers that oversee large groups of people should be held accountable for achieving results through positive volunteer interactions.
Volunteer leaders are not paid employees so the approach should be a little softer but the end result should be the same.
A poorly performing volunteer leader can hurt the volunteer experience so it is important to identify issues as they occur, and, if necessary change leadership quickly.
For example, if there is a volunteer leader that consistently drops the ball on scheduling and managing volunteers, the issue should be identified.
Try to work with the volunteer leader and coach them to improve their leadership skills or it may be necessary to ask them to step down.
Volunteer leaders should also have detailed position descriptions so they understand their job responsibilities and what the church expects of them.
Church leader evaluations should be done through a structured performance management process.
This includes developing annual church goals that are driven down to the employee level.
Objectivity is the key to success so don’t allow performance biases to impact the assessment results.
Other things to consider.
Maintain Consistency – Consistency in practice breeds credibility. Make sure you apply appraisals consistently and fairly across all leadership groups.
Church Politics – Politics are a reality that every organization has to contend with. Make an effort to discourage and not allow political influence or biases to play a part in objective evaluations.
Become familiar with rater biases and work to eliminate them.
Create A Structured Process For Evaluations – Structure helps to ensure consistency with administering appraisals.
Create a timeline and predictable process so all stakeholders understand when and how their performance will be measured.
For instance, create a timeline for performance evaluations that is locked into the annual church calendar.
The month that is chosen to do these assessments is not as important as the consistency in practice.
Use The Process To Identify Developmental Opportunities – Anyone in a leadership role should be encouraged to continue professional development. The annual evaluation process can be used to identify development opportunities.
Use this process to encourage and help employees and volunteers grow professionally.
Does your church evaluate your leadership?