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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Invest time and energy in improving the team by holding annual evaluation and planning sessions; participating in team-building programs.
  4. 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.

Photo Credit:  dbking