How to Hire Leaders Instead of Doers

How to Hire Leaders Instead of Doers

Great Leaders “Equip” More than “Do.”

One of The Unstuck Group’s foundational beliefs that influences how we help churches get unstuck is the principle that churches should fill leadership roles with equippers, not doers. It’s laid out clearly for us in Ephesians 4.

When you do this well, staff leaders focus on identifying high capacity volunteers to help lead and execute the ministry. You have to recognize that different leadership capacity and potential exist, and put leaders in the leadership positions.

We also believe (and can prove with data) that churches with lean staff teams are healthier. Our bias is always to promote volunteer engagement over hiring.

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How to Hire Leaders Rather Than Doers

We got this question in a recent webinar, and it’s one that actually comes up often at churches:

What are some questions to determine “doers” vs “leaders” in an interview process?

It seems that while many churches want to hire leaders, it can be challenging to do evaluate leadership qualities and potential in the interview process. When we’re in the Staffing & Structure Review phase of our planning process with churches, we often see people in leadership positions that just haven’t panned out like the church expected when they made the hire.

Just because someone has been part of something big doesn’t mean they can rally others to accomplish the vision. Click To Tweet

Here’s what we suggest:

1) Use Open-Ended Questions

Our first suggestion is to go with open-ended prompts. Here are a few examples:

  • Tell me about the most significant project you’ve been a part of.
  • Tell me about your experience building teams and getting things done through other people.

Don’t lead their answers. Just let them talk. You’re looking for evidence that they personally led in ways that empowered and equipped other people. You’re listening for the “specialty” of leading, not doing. This is important: Just because someone has been part of something big doesn’t mean they can rally others to accomplish the vision.



 2) Don’t Rely Only on Interviews

Our second suggestion is to leverage a strengths assessment (we like Leading from Your Strengths from Ministry Insights) to help you get a clearer picture of how this person would fit into your organizational structure and how they would lead. A tool like this provides a more objective look at a candidates’ natural wiring and helps balance the subjective opinions that dominate most interview processes.

Some people interview really well or can gauge what you want to hear and respond accordingly. Other people are just not self-aware, thinking they have leadership qualities they don’t have, or holding a lot of book knowledge but lacking in practical experience. A strengths assessment helps you root those things out.

Lastly, if you want to lead an unstuck church, getting the right people in the right roles is critical. At some point, you need to get an honest perspective about the people who are already on your team. One way to evaluate the leader vs. doer characteristics of the team you already have is to take a look at volunteer engagement. Leaders build great volunteer organizations.

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By | 2018-04-27T16:23:23+00:00 April 24th, 2018|Staffing|0 Comments

About the Author:

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Tony is Chief Strategic Officer at The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, he served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He’s written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.

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