7 High Costs of Leadership Every Leader Should Pay

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Leadership can be expensive. If we desire to be leaders it will likely cost us something – maybe even something we value greatly. There are high costs of leadership that every leader should be willing to pay. 

The reality is that leadership is a stewardship. It’s the keeping of a valuable trust others place in you. Therefore, cheap leadership is never good leadership.

What high costs are you paying for leadership? 

Let me give you a few examples.

7 high costs of leadership:

Personal agenda

Good leaders give up their personal desires for the good of others, the team or the organization. 

Control

What you control you limit. Good leaders give freedom and flexibility to others in how they accomplish the predetermined goals and objectives.

Popularity

Leading well is no guarantee a leader will be popular. In fact, there will be times where the opposite is more true. Leaders take people through change. Change is almost never initially popular. I wrote a whole chapter about this principle in my book The Mythical Leader.

Comfort

If you are leading well you don’t often get to lead “comfortably”. You get to wrestle with messiness and awkwardness and push through conflict and difficulty. It’s for a noble purpose, but it isn’t easy.

Fear

Good leadership leads into the unknown. That’s often scary. Even the best leaders are anxious at times about what is next.

Loneliness

I believe every leader should surround themselves with other leaders. We should be vulnerable enough to let others speak into our life. But there will be days when a leader has to stand alone. Others won’t immediately understand. On those days the quality of strength in a leader is revealed. This one should never be intentional, but when you are leading change – when it involves risk and unknowns – this will often be for a season a significant cost.

Outcomes

People follow worthy visions. Of course, we should create measurable goals and objectives. We should discipline for the tasks ahead. We don’t, however, get to script the way people respond, how times change, or the future unfolds.

As leaders, we should consider whether we are willing to pay the price for the high costs of leadership. Good leadership is not cheap!

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

You Must Do THIS if You Want to Attract Leaders

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If you want to attract leaders to your team there is one thing you must do – above everything else. It’s a philosophy of leadership, but it is HUGE.

One of the most frequent concerns I receive from young leaders about their organizations is they aren’t being given adequate responsibly or authority. Instead, they are handed a set of tasks to complete. They don’t feel they have a part in creating the big picture for the organization.

Since most of the young leaders I talk to are in ministry, this means it’s happening in the church too.

The other side of this dilemma is most the pastors I hear from are looking for leaders. They want someone to take the reigns of leadership and actually do something.

How do we solve the problem?

Can we attract leaders for our churches? How do we allow younger team members to feel included? And how do other successful organizations (churches) attracts leaders?

If you want to attract leaders, here is one thing you must do:

Hand out visions more than you assign tasks.

In order for the organization to be successful, you’ll need to attract leaders. You know that, right? You need to know something about leaders and potential leaders.

  • Leaders want to work towards a vision – a big vision, more than they want complete a set of tasks.
  • They don’t get excited about checklists and assignments.
  • Leaders want to join an adventure, then help develop their own tasks to accomplish it.
  • Real leaders get excited about faith-stretching, bigger-than-life, jaw-dropping acts of courage.

An organization that “gets it” attracts leaders.

“To do” lists often get in the way of that kind of fun. Visions excite people. The details to complete them don’t.

So, if you want to create a successful organization and recruit leaders hand people a big vision with lots of room for them to choose on the implementation side.

Of course, they may indeed need to create checklists. I would even suggest they do if I were coaching them. They will need measurable action plans. They need to have a list of assignments in order to complete a project successfully. All those are necessary to accomplish a worthy vision. A vision is simply an idea until someone puts legs to it so it can walk.

But start with the vision. Start with the big idea. Help people see what you hope to accomplish some day. Make sure you’re real clear about illustrating the problem to be solved or the opportunity to be seized.

Then get out of the way and let people figure out how they will accomplish the vision.

This doesn’t mean your work is over though. People will need your help along the way. They’ll still need your help to develop structure, discipline and follow through. But that’s way different than handing them a set of tasks in the beginning. And it’s practicing good leadership and delegation skills.

I realize this is especially hard for some leaders who may want to control the desired outcome. (Leaders often like me – just being honest.) You’ll have to take a risk on the people you’ve recruited to lead and discipline yourself to let them work in their own way.

And you will get burned a few times, but overall, you’ll find more success and attract leaders when you: 

Paint big visions – rather than give out specific tasks.

When you do this you’ll attract leaders and a more successful organization will be built and sustained.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 21 – 5 Steps When You’re Overwhelmed as a Leader

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast Ron and Chandler Vannoy talk about steps to take when you’re overwhelmed as a leader.

What do you do when you find yourself in that situation where you are overwhelmed with the changes needed? When the leadership challenges are overwhelming – and you don’t know if you can do all expected of you – what do you do?

I hope you can learn from my experience. Here we explore some steps I take when in a similar situation. (Which is often in leadership.)

In this episode, we discuss steps when you’re overwhelmed as a leader.

We are hearing from many leaders who are enjoying these podcast. We know they are simple. It is intended to be a quick listen to a conversation between father and son – (and in this one – father and friend) who are both struggling to figure out leadership in our individual contexts.

As always, I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

We will be recording more episodes soon. Let us know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

Also be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

RELP – Episode 20 – Roadblock Warnings Leaders Who Want to Grow

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast Ron and Chandler Vannoy talk about some warnings for leaders who want to grow.

I (Ron) often hear from pastors who want to grow as leaders. They feel pressure to steer the church on a healthy course. Most of these leaders are humble, knowing ultimately Christ is the head of the church. Part of my ministry is trying to help them avoid some of the mistakes I have made or seen in leadership.

These are some warnings I’ve observed first hand in leadership positions I’ve held. We hope they help.

In this episode, we discuss warnings for leaders who want to grow.

We are hearing from many leaders who are enjoying these podcast. We know they are simple. It is intended to be a quick listen to a conversation between father and son – (and in this one – father and friend) who are both struggling to figure out leadership in our individual contexts.

As always, I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

We will be recording more episodes soon. Let us know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

Also be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

A 4 Word Outline to Evaluate Any Event

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Evaluation may be equally important to the planning, which goes into any event. For churches, just as we ask God to direct our thoughts and energies in creating an event, we should ask Him to direct us in evaluating. What worked and what didn’t work is important to know. The way you evaluate any event helps determine how well you do with similar events in the future.

Let’s say you want to evaluate a major event, such as Easter with some of your team. And I think you should.

(I also understand some will struggle with the word “Event” being used to describe Resurrection weekend. You can call it anything you want. I’m using the word so this idea can help you evaluate more than just Easter weekend.)

How do you structure the evaluation process so you capture feedback, which is helpful, but you aren’t just throwing out random ideas you will never implement? How do you gather plenty of information for future use, but keep the conversation from getting off track and becoming unproductive?

You need to script how you evaluate any event.

First, make sure the right people are in the room. I’ve done this in large and small settings, but you want voices at the table who can speak to most of what you were evaluating.

For example, if we were evaluating our Easter weekend, it would make no sense if the only ones evaluating were the worship team and me. We were on the platform most of the time or only in our worship center. You need people who observed how guests were treated, what was happening in our parking lots, if children were cared for and whether or not the bathrooms were kept clean.

Of this group, I also want positive-minded people who love the church and want to continue to see us improve – even if it means changing things in the future.

So, after the right people are in the room, here is a simple format I’ve done which helps the process move along to evaluate any event.

It’s simple, but it works.

I’ve often gone to the board and written an outline for us to follow – a script if you will – to guide our thoughts to evaluate effectively.

Write down each of the words in bold, ask the questions. You can think of better questions to add than I have. Feel free to list some in the comments of this post. Let people talk through each one.

Duplicate –

  • What did we do well?
  • Of all the things we did, what worked best?
  • What do we know we want to do again next time?

The goal here is to talk about and discover those things, which need to be repeated next time. These things worked. They fully helped you live out your vision and the goals for the event. These are often the “no-brainers” and are usually easily drawn out from the discussion. Give people plenty of time here. This is part of the celebration.

Develop –

  • What was good, but could be better?
  • Where did we see the greatest energy, that with a little more effort could be huge?
  • What do we know is a part of our values for the event — or for our church (or organization) — but it didn’t get enough attention?

This is one of the most important parts of the discussion. Here you want to discover things, which have the potential to really take your event to the next level – next time. Try to keep discussion centered only on the development of existing things you do at this point. You will get to new things in a minute.

By the way, you don’t want to add a ton of new things to an event unless what you did was terribly bad and you need to start completely over with all new. Most of the time developing what you currently do and making it better is easier for people’s tolerance to change and is more effective.

Dump –

  • What do we not need to do again?
  • Be honest, what didn’t work at all?
  • What was the most draining effort, but produced little or no return for the investment?
  • Simply put, what is tired, worn out, ready to be laid to rest before we do this again?

If dump is too strong a word for you, maybe use the word “delete”. The idea here is what do you need to not do next time? You need to discover what needs killing. Don’t be shy here.

This could be the hardest part of your discussion. This is where turf wars develop and feelings can come to the discussion, but you have to do it. If it didn’t work and it was expensive or labor-intensive, (and you have the leadership ability to navigate the change), consider getting rid of it next time.

The reason it’s so important is you can use the energy to pour into things you listed under the develop heading. You can’t do everything. Also, you don’t want to take too much away from people without giving them something back, which is even better.

Dream –

  • What’s the wildest idea we could think of to do next time?
  • If money was not an option, what would we do to make this better?
  • What could we add next time that has the potential to be a “signature” aspect?

This is sometimes my favorite one. I wouldn’t suggest you put a ton of time into it – and don’t do it at all until you’ve done the others, but give some time to dreaming about the future. Honestly, I prefer the Develop one over this one as far as sustainability and productivity goes. Yet, some really great ideas can originate here.

Perhaps time this and stop when the ideas begin to turn really crazy. Allow people an opportunity to stretch the event into something no one has ever even imagined. You might even schedule a whole other meeting just for this one sometime in the near future. You should also create an atmosphere where wild, stretching ideas are welcome to be thrown on the table.

Also, the senior leader doesn’t have to be the moderator as you evaluate any event.

Depending on the group someone else may be better at this and let you participate more in the discussion.

Make sure someone is the recorder in the room. We sometimes write ideas under the words and take a picture of the board, but I always suggest someone record these ideas into a document of some kind. We frequently create a Google Doc, which we can share with others and store for later use. The more organized you are with your notes the more useful they will be next time you’re ready to do the event again.

Bonus idea: You can give out this form before the event begins so people can “evaluate an event” as they go.

Finally, I’d limit the time on this whole process. Maybe allot time to each one and then come back to them if you have time. It can grow stale if you linger too long in one of these discussions.

I hope this helps you evaluate any event. I’d love to hear from you if it does.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

7 Suggestions for Pastors When You Lose a Good Team Member

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I have some suggestions for pastors (or leaders) when they lose a good team member. This post came to me the hard way. It came after hanging out with one of my favorite people I had ever worked with. I hated when we parted ways professionally.

Let’s be honest, pastors. When you have great staff people, the team is set and everything is going well, it’s hard when someone leaves. Even when they are leaving for a better opportunity – it often stinks.

Replacing quality people is one of the hardest things we do as pastors and leaders.

How should you handle things when a team member leaves for other opportunities?

7 suggestions when you lose a good team member:

Pause and think bigger picture.

You’re a Kingdom builder. You are on a mission and called to be part of a grander plan – God’s plan – more than you are to one local church. Every team member (volunteer and attendee) in the church (including you) are simply part of this plan.

Grieve the loss.

You likely invested a lot personally into the person. Most likely you are going to miss their friendship, as well as their work. Whoever replaces them will not be the same. (They may actually be a better fit for the season you are in now, but it will be different either way. Change is hard for the church – and it’s difficult for us too at times. Believers don’t grieve like the rest of the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13), but we do grieve. We grieve with hope always in mind, but grieving is a healthy way to deal with loss.

Don’t take it personal.

Most likely it is a reflection of what God was doing in the team member’s life – and possibly in the life of the church. It may have nothing to do with you. If it is personal then it is a good time to evaluate where and who you are and why someone felt they needed to leave.

See the opportunity in something new.

I used to have a boss who when someone would threaten to quit he would call them in and have them stick their hand in a bucket of water to see how much the difference one hand made in the level of the water. It didn’t make much. I know, because I once had to do it.

I’m not saying it was the gentlest of approaches – and I have never used it personally, but it was certainly humbling. I never forgot it. The point he was making was everyone can be replaced. Everyone. Sometimes new can even be better. Transitions are difficult, but afterward new can create opportunities for the church you never dreamed of – but God did.

Whenever a team member leaves our team I like to step back and reevaluate the entire team. We don’t get those opportunities often.

See yourself as an investor in people.

You have to see your role as a people-builder more than a position builder. It’s great to have the best student ministry in the history of the church. Far better, however, is to have a student minister you believe in and invest in personally who is open, just as you should be, to being wherever God may lead. Rejoice in this with them. (As much as it hurts, this includes the worship pastor, the small groups or discipleship pastor, and the key volunteer leaders in the church.)

Keep in touch with the person leaving.

Stay in touch, as much as the other person will allow, in what God is doing in their life in this new season. Chances are you and your leadership were a part of this season also. Rejoice in what God allowed you to be a part of doing in someone else’s journey.

Celebrate what God is doing new.

Celebrate the work God is doing in the person’s life who left and what He is doing in the church for the future. On the way out celebrate one person leaving and on the way in you’ll get to celebrate for another team member replacing that person. The more you can celebrate the healthier the environment will be you are trying to lead.

These are just a few suggestions when you lose a good team member. I’ve been there – and, I’m sure I will be again. Saying goodbye can be difficult. It shouldn’t be devastating if we approach it correctly.

Join Nate and I for the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. And subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.

RELP – Episode 19 – Antiquated Leadership

By | Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Podcast | 2 Comments

In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast with Ron and Nate, Ron talks about antiquated leadership.

Many leaders in senior positions these days developed their leadership style in another generation. This has produced a plethora of what I (Ron) call antiquated leaders.

What’s important in leadership has changed from when I entered the field of leadership.

Leadership principles and practices have had to change because organizations and people have changed.

These leaders create tension in many organizations, including many churches today.

In this episode, we discuss antiquated leadership.

We are hearing from many leaders who are enjoying these podcast. We know they are simple. It is intended to be a quick listen to a conversation between father and son – who are both struggling to figure out leadership in our individual contexts.

As always, I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

We will be recording more episodes soon. Let us know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

Also be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

RELP – Episode 18 – 7 Tensions Leaders Face Everyday

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast with Ron and Nate, Ron shares 7 tensions leaders face everyday.

Being a leader isn’t easy. With every decision a leader makes someone is happy – and someone is not. One often misunderstood reason leadership is challenging is the tension every leader feels when making decisions. In fact, every leader faces some common tensions – everyday.

Leaning to balance the tensions of leadership may determine the level of success a leader can sustain. If a leader leans too far in either direction their leadership effectiveness suffers.

In this episode, we discuss tensions leaders face everyday.

We are hearing from many leaders who are enjoying these podcast. We know they are simple. It is intended to be a quick listen to a conversation between father and son – who are both struggling to figure out leadership in our individual contexts.

As always, I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

We will be recording more episodes soon. Let us know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

Also be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

RELP – Episode 17 – How Leaders Create Capacity

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In this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast with Ron and Nate, Ron shares how leaders create capacity.

Capacity can be defined as the ability or power to do, experience, or understand something.

We all need more capacity. A leader can only do so much. The team can only do so much. Capacity helps us do more.

Great leaders know the more capacity the organization has the more potential it has to accomplish its mission. When the organization begins to exceed its capacity for too long things eventually stall. If you want to spur growth you have to increase capacity.

Therefore, one of the best ways a leader can impact an organization is to create capacity so the organization and its people can grow.

In this episode, we discuss how leaders create capacity on their team.

We are hearing from many leaders who are enjoying these podcast. We know they are simple. It is intended to be a quick listen to a conversation between father and son – who are both struggling to figure out leadership in our individual contexts.

As always, I hope this episode helps you be a better leader.

Would you do me a favor? If you enjoyed listening to this episode of The Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast would you subscribe, share and leave a positive review about this podcast? We are enjoying doing this together, but it is especially encouraging when we know it is helping other church leaders. Thank you in advance for doing this. It is a great help.

We will be recording more episodes soon. Let me know leadership issues you would like us to cover on future episodes.

Also be sure to check out all the great podcasts on the Lifeway Leadership Podcast Network.

5 Necessary Ingredients In Healthy Delegation

By | Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Organizational Leadership | No Comments

I have seen dumping responsibilities on people and calling it delegation. This form of delegation does more harm than good for an organization. It leaves projects undone or completed mediocre at best. It kills employee morale and motivation and it keeps the mission of the organization from reaching its full potential. Healthy delegation achieves the opposite results. 

Delegation involves more than ridding oneself of responsibility. Healthy delegation is an international, methodical and important part of leadership. Therefore, you can’t “dump and run” and call it delegation.

In my book Mythical Leader, I share stories of delegation gone wrong with me as the leader. Likewise, this post originates from things I have learned the hard way.

Here are 5 necessary ingredients in healthy delegation:

Expectations fully set

A person receiving an assignment must know the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve. 

  • “Why are we doing this?”
  • “What are we trying to accomplish?”
  • What will a “win” look like? 

Those type questions should be clearly answered.

Knowledge fully given

Proper training needs to be given before the person is held responsible to achieve full results. Of course, part of training could be doing the work the first time, but the delegator should remain available throughout the process. As questions or uncertainties of details arise, there should be an understood freedom to ask for help. 

Resources fully provided

Healthy delegation provides adequate resources and money to accomplish the task assigned. Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to complete a project without the tools with which to do it.

If the goal is to be creative on a limited budget, solving the “how” should not be dumped solely on the delegate. 

Accountability fully in place

Proper delegation involves follow up and evaluation of the delegated assignment.

  • Did we achieve the objectives?
  • What could we have done better?
  • What did we learn from this process?

This process isn’t meant to be threatening. Done well it is healthy for the delegator, the person receiving delegation, and the organization.

Appreciation fully acknowledged 

Healthy delegation recognizes the accomplishment of the one who completed the task. Consequently, people are more likely to want more responsibility if they feel appreciated for the work they have done.

Delegation may be one of a leader’s most effective methods of success. Leaders who are productive long-term continue to grow and develop as a delegator.

Listen to my son Nate and I discuss leadership issues on the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. Subscribe now, so you won’t miss the next one.