Churches rely on their leadership team to get the job done. Some church leaders are volunteer leaders, and some are staff managers.
Most church hierarchies use staff managers to inspire, motivate, and influence employees and volunteers to do the ministry’s work to fulfill its mission.
Management skills and leadership skills are different – yet the same. What I mean by that is it requires strong leadership skills to manage effectively. Management requires operational control of the work that needs to get done, whereas leadership is the delivery of that control.
For instance, let’s say you have a manager who oversees the custodial staff. A manager would create the process, policies, and procedures to get the job done.
However, the way that manager communicates and directs the staff will dictate how well the employee gets the job done but also how that staff member will evaluate their work experience. The HOW a manager manages staff is just as important as what gets done.
Demonstrating the HOW is leadership!
6 Skills To Master If You Manage Others
1. Communication Skills
Good verbal and written communication skills help ensure a clear understanding of expectations, processes, and the importance of getting the job done.
Managers need to communicate effectively, so staff and volunteers understand what is expected of them. But more importantly, they are motivated to get the job done with excellence.
2. Relationship Building
We are beings that rely on relationships with other people. Managers need to be good at building those critical relationships so they can earn trust and influence.
Strong relationships are required to connect with staff and volunteers, to build trust, so staff share ideas about how work is accomplished.
For instance, if you have a volunteer leader who can make a process better, they need to feel comfortable and safe sharing their thoughts. Employees and volunteers who don’t have trust will often withhold helpful insights that may improve how things are done.
Strong relationships build trust.
3. Helping Others Grow
We are all on a journey, and growth is how we improve. Effective managers are skilled at identifying strengths in others and helping them to develop.
Whether it is an employee or a volunteer, a manager is responsible for guiding others through a developmental path.
For instance, if you have a volunteer who consistently shows initiative and works independently, use your influence to help them develop any necessary skills so you can promote them to a higher level of service.
Development of others is what supports effective succession planning.
4. Change Agents
You don’t have to look much further than the past 12 months to realize that change is constant.
Churches had to change on a dime, often without knowing how to make the necessary changes during the pandemic.
Managers need to be change agents and help those they lead to understand, accept, and embrace constant change.
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
For instance, all churches had to change how church services were delivered in 2020. These changes were necessary to adapt to the environment with which it existed. Video streaming became the new normal, and many things were required to change to adapt to this new model of an online church.
Great managers help volunteers and employees see the positive aspect of change.
5. Critical Thinker
Critical thinking is an essential skill for managers. To think critically, managers must evaluate the information they are presented with and apply their knowledge and experience to solving problems.
Critical thinking eliminates the temptation for a knee-jerk reaction and ensures that the problem is observed from all angles.
For instance, let’s say that you have two employees with a conflict over limited resources. Your job is to ensure there is a win-win solution for both employees.
Your critical thinking skills will allow you to consider both perspectives and issues and decide on the best solution for everyone involved.
The best way to do this is to always make sure you have all of the facts before making a decision that impacts other people.
6. Build Team Accountability
However, it is an attentive manager who ensures accountability for getting the job done.
An effective manager will skillfully hold employees (and volunteers) accountable by helping them to understand your expectations and timelines for getting things done. They also make clear the consequences for not getting it done.
A manager’s role is far more than supervisory — 70% of a team’s engagement is influenced by managers.
As We Manage They Grow
Leadership skills, when applied appropriately, flow downhill. When a manager does a good job of influencing others to get the job done, those under their wings will learn those skills by simply being exposed to proper application.
Take these skills and practice. Refine you skills so that you can have influence while fulfilling your church mission.
There Is Fulfillment In The Process
I’ve always considered managing others to be an enriching experience. After you can master these crucial manager skills, you can see the fruits of your labor by watching employees develop and enjoy the process of getting the job done.
Learn more about managing your employees and volunteers by enrolling in our Fundamentals of Church Administration Course. Our bundled package gives you all of the tools to manage your church.