I recently reviewed the conclusions from a 2012 study of senior church leadership. It was performed by Azusa Pacific University and the Leadership Network and included special permission to utilize a team assessment tool developed by Harvard researchers and Hay Group consultants. 600 people from 145 churches participated.
Some interesting survey responses included:
- 75% of the leadership teams felt they had a consequential purpose, but also felt the clarity of their purpose and ability to achieve it was very low.
- Although the respondents listed “coordinating leadership activities” and “making critical, church-wide decisions” as the most important purposes of their teams, these groups actually spent less than half their time on these activities.
- Many churches had a shared leadership model because they believed that a team approach was better than relying on one “heroic” leader. The top three reasons for choosing this approach were (1) to provide better leadership to the church than the senior/lead pastor alone could provide, (2) to increase coordination across departments and/or campuses, and (3) to get more ideas on the table.
The authors offered several suggestions on how to strengthen your senior leadership team, including:
- Clarify the team’s specific purpose–making sure it is distinct from simply providing general leadership to the church–and increase the challenge of that purpose.
- Focus the team’s time and effort on tasks crucial to accomplishing the team’s purpose and minimize time spent on other non-essential issues, perhaps by assigning some of their tasks to other teams or individuals.
- Invest time and energy in improving the team by holding annual evaluation and planning sessions; participating in team-building programs.
- Spend time assessing and improving the team’s communication practices to minimize frustration and stress and maximize effectiveness.
You can click here to download and review the study results and conclusions.
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