Creating Healthy Leadership Pressure

 It has always been said, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." This is true in both the business and the church. Because of this, leadership health is vital. Keeping leadership healthy requires many things like accountability, mentoring, and focus. In many ways, these things (and others) creates a pressure that enables leaders to function and thrive. When leadership pressure is healthy, leaders are healthy; when it's not, things can go badly pretty quick. Both too little pressure or too much is unhealthy for any organization. Check out the bell curve below. 

Too little leadership pressure results in low performance and too much pressure drives performance down as well. There are certain indicators that can reveal whether or not leadership pressure is too little or too much. There are also indicators that reveal healthy leadership pressure. 

The "Good ole Boy" Mentality

When there is a lack of little or no leadership pressure, the "good ole boy" mentality sets in. This sets a culture where performance takes the backseat and nursing hurt feelings become priority, even at the expense of failed tasks. Here's some of the things you'll see emerge when leadership pressure is on the bottom left of the bell curve:

  • Little or no accountability 
  • Poor (last minute) planning
  • No deadlines
  • No plans of execution
  • No consequence for consistent failure
  • Sanctioned incompetence 
  • Little or no self discipline among leaders

The "Us against Them" Mentality

When the pressure is too high, the "us against them" mentality begins to emerge. This is common in larger churches, where pastors begin to feel the frustrations of growth and change. This is usually followed with hiring and/or firing the wrong people, disunity, and eventually, vision drift. Here are some of the things you'll see emerge when leadership pressure is on the bottom right of the bell curve. 

  • Micromanaging people
  • Confusing abrasive with boldness
  • Meetings that turn into set-ups and ambushes
  • No room to fail or make mistakes
  • Unrealistic objectives and deadlines
  • No mentoring or coaching
  • Emerging silo ministries 

Healthy Leadership Pressure

When leadership pressure is healthy, leaders are healthy. This doesn't mean everything becomes easy, it simply means leaders can thrive because they are in the right environment. Notice when pressure remains in the top right and left of the bell curve, performance remains high. It's important to note that pressure will fluctuate, because the church has seasons of natural growth, change, etc. The trick is not to let the pressure fall to the bottom right or left. Here are some indicators of healthy leadership pressure.

  • Healthy teamwork 
  • Deadlines get met
  • Visible accountability 
  • On-going mentoring
  • Celebration of the wins
  • Staff unity
  • Vision clarity 

Here's five questions to help you plot your church's leadership pressure on the bell curve: 

1. Does the leadership make plans that seem to never get done?
2. Do you or your leaders feel the need to keep their hand in every ministry in the church?
3. Do you allow certain leaders to "get away" with consistent failures?
4. Are there two sides, with a line in the sand, during staff meetings
5. Are there consistent coaching and mentoring opportunities for your team?


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