I really hesitated using that title but I did because I get so many questions related to staff performance. Every XP I know deals with this issue of getting people to do better and do more—or sometimes just do their job. As you read this article, who do you know on your staff that needs to pick up the pace? Personally, I have plenty to do besides helping grown men and women simply do what I hired them to do.
Following are some ideas that I have found that work; you might find them useful:
1. It starts with me.
When I am of the mindset that employees are assets and not people, I have to work hard to find out what is going on inside me. Just because I am frustrated or disappointed, I cannot lose sight of the fact that they are wonderful human beings, filled with talents, gifts, ideas, and visions for ministry. On rare occasion, I have had people who were lazy or had a character issue and they disqualified themselves from leadership. The rest of the time, low performers just needed my help and a little mentoring. Sometimes I have labeled some of my leaders as low performers, only to discover that they had incredible abilities. I had not invested the time to help them take their leadership to the next level. My suggestion is to make sure you see them as God sees them—with all of their potential.
2. Teach people about vision.
I believe that God gives leaders His vision for His people. One of my favorite questions to ask my leaders is, “What dream do you see that could or should be for the ministry that you lead?” I tell them we have the capacity to imagine a preferred future and then ask them to tell me what they see. Sometimes they can tell me and other times we talk through it for a month—it really depends upon the way they are wired. The taskers have a harder time because they see all the obstacles—you have to work with them to dream. The dreamers can usually just blurt it out and describe something incredible. The best part of my job as an XP is the power that has been entrusted in me. I love helping leaders harvest their vision and then use my power to clear road blocks. I tell them to start running and that I am going with them. Many times when I hear what they envision, I get an understanding of why they are low performers. They are spending much of their time of their job not in pursuit of their vision. Once I realize that, I have to do something about it.
3. Help them believe in the vision that God gave them.
God is the ultimate visionary. He absolutely sees the future and consistently pursues His mission of redeeming the world through Jesus Christ. He invites men and women to join Him in His vision. The problem is that our God does things so far beyond our imagination that it tempts us to believe that it simply can’t be done. Many times when I am working with a leader and we finally get down to the piece of vision that God has given them, it is simply too big. I hear them say, “What I see is so incredible; I don’t believe it could ever happen here in this church.” Sometimes it moves them to emotion when they say it. This is where I take my cues and go to work. If they see it, then they must pursue it. Believing in your God-given vision is part of the ride in leadership. Our scriptures are filled with men and women who struggled with believing or obeying God for His invitation to join Him in His redeeming work.
Pursue the vision.
I challenge all XPs to join me in helping God’s people harvest their portion of the Big Vision. I must admit that it takes work and patience; this is counter-intuitive leadership for the average “got it all together” XP—the pro, the Executive. I have experienced incredible results that come from investing in people and helping them find their vision for ministry … then helping them believe to the point that they start showing up for work early or make radical changes in their leadership.
What about you? What is your vision for your leadership? What do you see that only you can see? Are you convinced that you see something that God has revealed to you? Is it a vision that you dream about and find yourself talking about what could or should be? I encourage you to pursue your vision and release the passion that comes with this vision. Don’t worry about the risks associated with the vision. Let’s be leaders who model vision and passion and pursuit for our leaders.