Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Staffing

I saw a sign that said: “Tell your boss the truth and the truth shall set you free.” It made me smile, but for a lot of staff that’s not so funny.

Have you ever wanted to confront your boss? Did you do it? How’d it go?

I wish we could have coffee and I could hear your story because I have great passion for this unique relationship between boss and employee to flourish. Yet I’m aware that similar to a marriage, it’s just not always that easy.

This might surprise you, but most of the time that I do get to hear a story about this issue in churches of all shapes and sizes, the answer to that question is “no.” The staff member never confronted their boss. Sometimes that’s a good thing. The confrontation wasn’t needed, or perhaps it was even inappropriate.

But most of the time they should have gone for it. That’s part of the foundation of a healthy and productive relationship.

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Hiring family members is a highly debated topic loaded with opinions on both sides.

It ranges from leaders who prefer hiring family as a first choice, to those who object to nepotism of any kind.

It might be a spouse, brother or sister, aunt or uncle, and sometimes a staff member’s son or daughter. We can all cite stories that are great examples of success, and stories that seem more like your worst nightmare.

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Hiring someone to join your staff is one of the coolest things ever, and simultaneously can scare you spitless.

Especially if you’ve ever had a newly hired staff person go from a dream come true to your worst nightmare.

I always love the privilege to get to add someone to the team. It represents newness, progress and taking new territory. But it’s far better to have an unfilled position, no matter how long it takes, rather than hire the wrong person.

The hiring process is complicated, it’s honestly a study in human nature. Even done well, you never remove all the risks. But there are certain things you can watch for.

Over the course of three decades of hiring experience, I have observed definite patterns and behaviors that either draw me in or drive me away from a potential staff member.

Snap judgments and quick opinions are never wise, but there are specific caution flags that I’ve learned that should not be ignored.

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Is your staff team a healthy team?

How do you know?

It’s easier to know when a team is not healthy, especially if you look at the extremes.

The obvious symptoms are things like:

  • Gossip
  • Negativity
  • Silos
  • Complaining
  • Conflict
  • Unproductive

The outcome is that the team and organization do not function as they should.

But it’s not always that obvious because most teams are not in the red zone of extremes. There may be some isolated problems but not pervasive conditions.

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