Friday, February 10, 2012

Weak staff members and their impact on others

One of the responsibilities of team or ministry leaders is to deal with weak staff members (I am referring to paid staff). These are staff who do not have the capacity of the rest of the team and therefore pull down the level of dialogue and ministry results. Many leaders do not understand how this situation disempowers and creates issues for other team members. 

Healthy, synergistic teams are made up of individuals with different gifts and skills but with a common level of professional acumen. This means that they can play at the same level. In team meetings the common level allows for easy dialogue and synergistic ideas. In execution it makes for a common ability to deliver on ministry.

When, however, one has a staff member who operates at a significantly lower level of competency there is a negative impact to the whole team. At team meetings, the level of dialogue and discourse is pulled down and other members often shut down or become irritated. In ministry execution the fact that one of their team cannot deliver at the required level which puts additional pressure on other team members either to pick up the slack or unhappiness that the over level of ministry is being compromised.

Overall, this has a negative impact on the rest of the team as a whole and other team members look to their team or organizational leader to solve the problem. They cannot solve it but he/she can and they expect that they will. When they do not, the leader loses credibility in the eyes of the team.

Sometimes that solution is to find another role for the individual where their skills meet the standards of that role. It may mean moving them out of the organization. It could mean coaching to see if they can up their game. The relevant issue is not the particular solution, if there is one, but that the leader deals with the situation.

No leader relishes dealing with staff who cannot play at the required level. But it is one of the responsibilities of leadership. When they address the issue they gain credibility and protect their team. When they don't address the issue they lose credibility and hurt the rest of the team. It matters!


Craig T. Olson said...

I thought for sure you were talking about musicianship and singing and mixing abilities in corporate settings, where we are all the same, and abilities aren't really that important, but heart is.

Anonymous said...

I am not getting this one. On the one hand you have Christian maturity, and nobody should be put in a position of authority until they have it. So assuming you are not talking about that then we seem to be in the realm of viewing the church or ministry in a business context. But if they are mature they can hear criticism in love and there should be room for a lot of different styles. And the bottom line of business doesn't quite translate into the church in my opinion. On the one hand regarding numbers The Lord adds to the church as He sees fit. Regarding finances we all have to trust the Lord for that. So I guess I'm left thinking that a person who is qualified as an elder is qualified as an elder.

Sorry if I am missing some part of your argument or worse I suppose erecting a straw man and declaring victory. I do both from time to time.

Thanks for your dedication to blogging TJ. I know you are busy.

c&v said...

TJ, how would you respond to two these two different scenarios: The first is a brother who might be considered weak in a local church by fellow brothers and sisters. He may be immature in his faith. He may not have had anyone disciple him. Maybe new to the faith. But he's there part of Christ's body. My question to you on this first scenario is how should the body of Christ respond in helping this brother? The second scenario is found in a Christian organization doing ministry. To use your example in your article, it seems like we'd potentially move this guy out if he didn't respond well. I've been struggling in my mind recently about the difference between the Church and Christian organizations doing ministry. Should a Christian organization treat people differently than a local body would? Something doesn't sit right with me after reading this blog post, and I don't know exactly quite what it is. I try to picture myself in that weak person's shoes and how I would feel if that was me. Maybe I'm missing something or not seeing something--I don't know, but it just seems like there may be different operating procedures in Christian organizations compared to the Church--and I don't know that I like that.

T.J. Addington said...

Let me clarify that I am not talking about volunteers here but paid staff. Always we want to be redemptive but there are also times when a paid staff member is actually hurting the rest of the team either because they are in the wrong place, not qualified or not playing at the level that the other member are.