Developing Low-Bar Leaders...

Back in my middle school & high school days, I played football...and loved it. But what I didn't love were the off-season workouts that went along with playing football. One drill in particular that I hated were the hurdle drills. With the goal in mind of developing our movement and agility, our coaches would make us jump, flat footed, over track hurdles set at different heights. Now don't get me wrong: There were days when this was easy. When the hurdles were set to the lowest height, this drill was a piece of cake. Everyone on the team could do it and we could jump those things all day long. But when the bar was raised, that was another story. With the hurdles set on high, it was a lot more work, it was sometimes painful, and there was a bigger risk of failure. And it definitely wasn't something everyone could do with ease.

As I think about those days of jumping hurdles, it makes me ponder where we set the leadership bar in our churches today. I think far too many times, as pastors and leaders, we're guilty of lowering the bar. We think that this will give us more leaders, erase the roadblocks to becoming a leader, and somehow eventually result in maturity, growth, and positive change. Unfortunately, that just isn't the case. So how do we know if we've set the bar too low? Check this out below:

How To Develop Low Bar Leaders
  1. Steer clear of accountability. If you want low bar leaders, then be sure you never hold people accountable. Make sure you don't have any standards that leaders are held to and, by all means, don't step in when there are problems with a leader's character or actions.
  2. Refuse to develop clearly communicated requirements and standards. If it is one thing that low bar leaders hate, it is being held to a standard that is clearly expressed throughout your organization. In order to keep low bar leaders happy, be sure to water down your requirements for leadership and be unclear in your communication of these requirements.
  3. Give everyone in your church or organization an equal amount of time. In ministry, more is caught than taught. It's a simple principle. Great leaders spend more time with less people, in order to invest in their leaders. If you want low bar leaders, be sure to spread your time evenly among everyone, never giving any extra attention to those who have the potential to make a major impact within your church.
  4. Avoid dealing with people who knowingly and willfully fall short of the bar. Let's face it: When we set the bar low, it makes it a lot easier for everyone to jump over with very little commitment, effort, or dedication. When we set the leadership bar high in our organization or church, it means that we will have to confront those who continually fall short of the bar and that means dealing with conflict. And no one likes that, right? So let's keep the bar low. It's more comfortable that way.
  5. Never ask people to step up or to take the next step. Churches and organizations that produce high level leaders are consistently challenging people to grow by taking the next step in their faith, in their leadership, and in their commitment to the cause. If we want to keep low bar leaders, then we need to keep ourselves from making the "big ask" and challenging people to step up to the next level. Let people get comfortable and complacent where they're at and they'll be content at the low bar level for life.

In our churches, when we set the leadership bar low, everyone clears the bar...but no one wins - especially the people we're trying to reach with the love and hope of Jesus Christ. Raising the bar may mean more hard work, the possibility of dealing with some pain, and a bigger risk of failure...but in the end, it produces change that the low bar never will.

No comments: