The leadership of our ministries can be divided into two primary parts, our process and our people. While our process deals with important things like our mission, vision, and strategic plan we can’t implement them without our people. Therefore people must be a priority. They are our greatest resource. I believe there are at least four essential people skills needed by any ministry leader. Over the next few weeks I would like to consider them together. I believe they can make a tremendous difference in our effectiveness.
The first essential people skill is the ability to build relationships. Through developing relationships we build trust and confidence. Without trust it is difficult, if not impossible, to lead others. If we are good with people then building relationships may come easy for us but what if we are not naturally gifted? Below are some intentional steps we can take to establish relationships with those we lead and serve.
- First, Value Them. I suggest pursuing the answers to the following questions.
- Who are they?
- What makes them tick?
- What is important to them?
- What are their dreams?
- What do they hope to accomplish with their lives?
- What do they struggle with?
- What do they fear?
- What do they like?
- What do they need?
The list of questions could go on and on but one thing is sure if all we do is talk about ourselves it is unlikely we will establish any strong, lasting relationships. Talk to them about them. Foundational to getting things done in any ministry is the ability to build trusting relationships with people. So, figure them out and then figure out how to get along with them. Study them and focus on them, show them you value them. Pay attention to them. Be aware of them. Show interest in their personal lives. Consistently emphasize and not just sympathize with them.
- Secondly, Respect Them. Pursue ways to communicate that they are valuable to you.
- Ask them what they think? Show them you value their opinion.
- Ask them what they think about your ministry’s processes?
- Ask them what they think about your ministry’s performance?
- Ask them what they think you can do to improve your ministry?
Our people are the ones in the trenches of our ministries. They are the “hands on” workers that carry out the details of our ministries from week to week. Don’t make your leadership one that is “top down” led. Make it one that “bottom up” led and gain their insight. Then implement their ideas. This team work approach to leading has the potential transform our ministries. That transformation starts with building solid, strong, trusting relationships with our people.
Below are just some of the benefits derived from established, strong relationships.
- Good relationship make ministry more enjoyable for everyone.
- Good relationships create energy among those that serve together.
- Good relationships cultivate communication between all parties.
- Good relationships build trust and respect among those that work together.
(Source: The Five Levels of Leadership by John Maxwell)
Next week we plan to tackle the second essential people skill for leaders that can make all the difference in our ministries. Until then, let’s work on building relationships with our people.