The Problem with Defining Leadership

The Problem with Defining Leadership Defining leadership is difficult. It's kind of like defining love, friendship, or goodness. And similarly, there are almost as many definitions as there are people you may ask. One major problem with defining leadership is the term can refer to a position or a person. The function of a person in charge of a group or company is typically called the leader. However, leadership also refers to the way in which a person oversees others. This second use of the word is what we're attempting to define. I've recently spent some time thinking through the ...

How to Get Church Volunteers Back After COVID-19

Getting Church Volunteers Back after COVID Churches all across the country are struggling with volunteers. These challenges are caused by pandemic-related problems that have been present over the last two years. Most churches shut down for some at the beginning of the pandemic. As they returned to meeting in person, churches quickly realized that not everyone came back. Those who were attending once a month realized they could watch online or not at all. And now churches have to figure out how to recreate their volunteer force, sometimes starting with nothing.  Church Attendance and COVID Whether we like it or ...

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Understanding Management and Leadership Management and leadership are different in multiple ways. Understanding these differences makes a huge difference in how a volunteer administrator leads their volunteer team. John Kotter suggests, “management is about coping with complexity,” while, “leadership is about coping with change” (1995, p. 115). The idea being that managers focus on organizing the functions of an organization in order to decrease complexity while leaders look forward toward the future, inciting necessary change along the way. Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson believe management is often associated with the skills of “planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling,” while leadership is associated ...

Leading Volunteers Through Change

Volunteer Change Management Leading volunteers through change is not easy. Those offering their time and talents to an organization tend to get used to how things are done and may not like any suggested change. Those leading volunteers may fear rocking the boat, where a suggested change may encourage a volunteer to rethink the time they spend with your organization overall. Below are 4 questions you can ask when considering change. The first two questions come from a technique called force field analysis by Kurt Lewin. This technique assumes every leadership situation contains driving and restraining forces. Driving forces represent ...

Assessing the True Cause of an Organizational Problem

Addressing Organizational Problems Organizational problems are sometimes difficult to assess and solve. Leaders often feel like they're playing a game of whack-a-mole, trying to whack whatever the most glaring problem is at the time. But, have you ever noticed the issue with this approach? As leaders, we tend to use the same tools to attack the same problems time after time. Or, we push on one problem, only to see another rise in a different area. Peter Senge, senior lecturer at the MIT school of management, was bothered by this common phenomenon. He researched the topic and wrote a book in response ...

Learning Why Volunteers Quit

As a pastor, I've had many volunteers quit over the years. It's not fun; it's frustrating and often confusing. As I've begun a doctoral program in Leadership studies this fall, I'm excited to have an opportunity to investigate answers to the question of why volunteers quit in a more formal way. One of the most interesting details I've noticed recently is a common thread through every framework setting up volunteer research. Research studies will often mention a theory or framework they'll use to build their research study on. The theory used will help direct questions or hypothesize potential responses for ...

By |November 20, 2017|Categories: blog, Leadership|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Leadership is Helpfulness

In the end, everyone's simply looking for a way to sweeten their deal. This is what our trainer at Bartell & Bartell shared while teaching us about personality assessment. He meant that if most people were honest, they're just looking for a way to make things a little better for themselves. It was in this context that he explained Servant Leadership. A lot has been written about servant leadership recently. It was actually popularized as a leadership style in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf with his book, Servant Leadership. The idea, shown in the picture below, is to invert the traditional leadership ...

By |November 3, 2017|Categories: blog, Leadership|Tags: , |1 Comment

How You View Volunteers Determines How You Lead Them

How you view volunteers will determine how you lead them. In 1957 Douglas McGregor spoke at a conference about two different types of employee motivation. He hypothesized that worker motivation could be broken into two broad categories: Theory X and Theory Y. Those associated with X believe workers are generally lazy, selfish, and difficult to motivate. Those associated with Y believe workers want to work and can be self-directed if properly motivated. When it comes to leading volunteers, how do you generally view people? Do you believe they're lazy and aren't interested in serving (Theory x)? Or do you believe ...

By |September 26, 2017|Categories: blog, Leadership|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

3 Essential Leader Types for a Great Team

It Takes a Team There’s something about leadership teams. Whether in cartoons, sports, or in real life, we somehow instinctively get that we need the various gifts and strengths of others to succeed as a leader. It may be easy to understand this need as an essential concept, but it’s a lot harder to think through in real life. In real life we get annoyed that more people don’t think like we do. In real life we are naturally attracted to those who get what needs to be done organizationally in the same way we do. In real life we ...

By |July 24, 2017|Categories: blog, Leadership|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Why Can’t Everyone Lead Like You

Law of the Hammer  Have you ever noticed how easy it is to view your leadership style as superior to others? If you lead with your gut and make quick decisions, it’s difficult when others take their time. But, on the other hand if you lean towards facts and figures, it’s frustrating when those around you want to move quickly before having all the pertinent information. We sometimes struggle with those with a different leadership style than our own. There’s a good reason for this.  In the 1960’s, famed Psychologist Abraham Maslov saw a pattern of behavior in humans he ...

By |June 29, 2017|Categories: blog, Leadership|Tags: , , , |2 Comments
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