A few months ago I asked you to share your pain points in leadership with me. Thank you for doing that! I have collected a lot of great material – sorry for your pain! Today I am starting to talk about those points and how I would suggest dealing with them. I NEVER mention any names. Your sharing is always safe with me.
From a person working in business:
In my organization it is fairly difficult to add good, new employees or rid ourselves of poor ones. In many ways it is a stagnant environment, and as an aspiring leader, it is somewhat daunting to consider managing employees you have little control over. What are some good ways to work with a tired, very mature workforce, and how can I push for healthy change within a very large business?
My input: I hear your pain. I get this a lot from Millenials (People born in the 80’s and 90’s)
- Always be a great example.
- Always stay positive at work.
- Be faithful in the little things – God will honor you.
- Grumble to people outside of work.
- Ask for and apply for promotions.
- Push for change even if you are on the bottom looking up.
- Perhaps transfer to a more healthy part of the organization where there are people like you.
Working with volunteers:
I am having trouble with a lack of commitment from those I am leading in the church. Having individuals who say they will be there and call at the last minute and say they can’t make it for whatever reason.
Same issue from someone else: Currently my biggest pain points as a leader and while attempting to lead through others has been lack of commitment and lack of capacity. When the skills, motivation, initiative and ability to connect tasks to the big picture are not there the organization stumbles. Lots of people say they want to “help” but they don’t dig in in a manner that allows them time to fully understand the role and set plans to meet the expectations of the role. I am leaving two volunteer organizations because of issues arising from these two points.
- The Volunteer Revolution: Unleashing the Power of Everybody, by Bill Hybels
- 365 Ideas for Recruiting, Retaining, Motivating and Rewarding Your Volunteers: A Complete Guide for Non-Profit Organizations [Kindle Edition], by Sonny Fader
- Less is more – the 80/20 rule applies to volunteers
- Yes, it can be very frustrating to have people flake on you since you don’t pay them. I would gather the volunteers and talk about it – how can we address this deep problem?
- You have to lead with vision and values. That is what motivates people, as illustrated by Claude’s MLK and the march in Selma.
From a CEO in ministry:
A current pain point is the pain I feel when I see my executive team worn out from working long hours on stuff that all seems critically important, and feeling powerless and stumped as to how to reduce their work load without compromising the pursuit of the mission that we have agreed on.
My input: This is a common problem in ministry and churches – too much work and not enough money to hire enough people.
- Reward people with non-monetary things – time off, fun events, etc.
- Ask your team and people what they would like for a reward.
- Recognize that all the work wont get done – find the critical path.
- Do a workload task assessment – Many people do things because they were done by the people before them.
- Hold your team accountable to take their days off and vacations.
- You set the example for work-life balance.
- The marriages, families and good mental health come BEFORE the mission.
Betrayal in the leadership team:
Here is one that became a literal pain point! An Absalom on my team. My key guy, whom I recruited to my leadership team, staged an unsuccessful coup! Behind my back he attempted to quietly convince the rest of the team that he would be a better leader than me. It almost worked. To help solve the problem I asked trusted outsiders from HR to come in to observe the team dynamic. They concluded it was the most significant case of spiritual warfare they had ever observed — and he was at the center of it. When I terminated his role on the team everything cleared up — and the team asked me to never allow him back on the team. After two years of counseling he returned and confessed that he had a significant issue with authority stemming from his “father issues.” Unfortunately, I was in the wrong position at the wrong time and received the brunt of his anger. He subsequently lost another position within the organization, is now separated from his wife, and his wife is taking steps toward a divorce. The pain was nearly unbearable at the time and resulted in a minor heart attack for me. Talk about pain!
My input: I have been there and done that. I get the pain of betrayal.
- Read my book – TTLC – Chapter Four – Thou Shall be Opposed, Resisted and misunderstood. This is part of leadership. It does happen routinely.
- You did the right thing to fire him/her. I know people in that situation who don’t. So that was right.
- You were right to pull in HR. That is what they are there for; to protect you.
- Hurting people hurt people.
- You sound like you might need some counseling too!
- Have a trusted friend outside the organization that you can dump on.
- Moses had a great response – He fell on his face before God and asked for wisdom to respond right.