How to Facilitate a Team Discussion that Defines Leadership Objectives

With so much talk about leadership, with so many books written, with such a focus on the concepts and ideas surrounding leadership – you would think that the simple definition of the term is clear. However, where there is a diversity of individuals, there will be a diversity of ideas and definitions concerning leadership and the role it plays in ministry. The following exercise will help you determine the current underlying definition and mindset of your team concerning leadership and the responsibilities and desired outcomes associated with it.

1. First, On a whiteboard or piece of paper write down the word “Leadership”.

  • Ask the team to fill in the blank in the following question and ask for as many responses as possible from each person in attendance and write down each response on the board.
  • The most effective leaders _________________. – (You should get a large variety of answers, the more the better.)

2. Now, when you feel like possibilities are exhausted, write two heading statements on the board or paper. Character Trait and Action Oriented.

  • As you look over the responses given, label each one appropriately. An example of each would be “The most effective leaders are humble.” (Character Trait) or “The most effective leaders provide direction.” (Action Oriented). You may simply mark each to the side with a “C” or an “A” as determined or relist them under each heading.

3. Now that the answers are segregated, ask the following question,

  • Which of theses responses would be required of an effective leader to truly lead well?
  • Then, go through and mark through the responses that a leader would not necessarily have to possess to lead. For example, a leader does not have to be humble to lead. It is better if he is, but not absolutely necessary. Case in point, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump or even Hitler.

What you will discover through the process is that, primarily a leader must be action and results oriented to truly lead well. At a base level positive character traits are icing on the cake, but not necessary for leadership. That is an unfortunate reality, but a reality none the less. So often in ministry we choose leaders in response to their outstanding character and not on their ability to produce action and results. Obviously in the context of ministry the role that character plays is paramount in filling roles within our ministries. I am not suggesting that results trumps character. A healthy God directed balance must be achieved. However, this exercises will reveal, that if you are filling a true ministry leadership position, then character alone is not enough. The candidate must also be able to produce action and results to truly lead.

Not seeing this reality is how leadership teams find themselves filled with team members who are great people who everyone loves – that unfortunately, months or years down the road, it is revealed by lack of positive results that they never never really do what it takes to lead.

This exercise can be a powerful insight into the preconceived ideas of what leadership looks like to ourselves and our teams. Be prepared for a deconstruction and reconstruction of thought and a lively discussion.

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About Ken McGarity

With vast experience as a successful entrepreneur and active in ministry leadership for many years, Ken McGarity is most recently engaged as a Church Growth Consultant and Strategist, as well as Christian Leadership Coach to today’s up and coming Christian leaders.

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