One of my specific prayers this year was that God would make me a better leader. I wanted to accept a challenge that I felt God was issuing to my heart that if I would listen and act upon what I heard that he would help me to grow as a leader. As I began to study leadership and pray deeply about it one thing became vividly apparent.

If I really wanted to grow as a leader I needed to ask some key questions to those who follow me and make myself accountable to them.

So I sent an email to my Worship Arts staff asking 2 simple questions:

1.) Tell me one thing I’m doing well at as a leader.

2.) Tell me one thing I need to improve at as a leader.

I heard some very encouraging things and some very pertinent ways to improve. Some were not easy to hear, but all were spoken and received in love and ultimately helped me to overcome some things as a leader. I pasted their exact responses where I could see them on my computer desktop for the next month and focused on improving in those areas. It proved vitally helpful.

A couple of months later I was reading a book called The Minister’s MBA about business strategies in the church. The authors posed 12 wonderful questions that I wanted my staff to answer for me:

1.) Do I know what’s expected of me at work?
2.) Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my correctly?
3.) Do I have the opportunity everyday to do what I do best at work?
4.) In the past week have I received recognition or praise for good work?
5.) Does my supervisor care about me as a person?
6.) Is there someone at who who encourages my development?
7.) At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8.) Does the Vision and Purpose of my team make me feel my work is important?
9.) Do my co-workers do quality work?
10.) Do I have a best friend at work?
11.) In the last six months have I spoken with someone about my progress?
12.) Do I have opportunities to learn and grow at work?

The answers to these questions helped me to identify some things that I needed to clarify for my staff as well as some small things that I could do to help them realize how valuable they are to this team and the Kingdom of God. I followed up with each person with just a short chat about their answers to make sure that I understood their responses clearly. It deepened our relationships tremendously and gave them the reassurance that they could come to me with any issue or need that they had. It opened up some wonderful dialogue and helped to further strengthen and unite our team.

Just this week I sent another email to the 2 full-time guys that work with me about an issue that I saw creeping up on me.

Hey dudes, I have been consistently about 5 minutes late this week each day. I want you to hold me accountable to something. I know it’s just 5 min. and you probably haven’t even noticed, but the issue is when I am just a little late it’s usually because I was working at home and lost track of time for a bit.

Although that sounds noble, 1.) I shouldn’t be working at home I should be hanging with my family, and 2.) Late is late no matter how noble it seems.

If you see me come in late ask me why. Integrity is letting your yes be yes and no be no. I am supposed to be here at 8:30am not 8:35am. Also, I need to be spending time with my family. That’s the focus of my morning before work; my time with God and my time with my family. Thanks for holding me accountable guys.

The response was encouraging. This was something they both wanted to be held accountable for as well and shared their deep respect for my honesty with them.

Sometimes we believe being vulnerable as leaders will cause us to lose respect with others, but I definitely find the opposite true. Integrity and humility create environments of accountability and grace which are key to developing the kind of work and ministry cultures that we all desire. Jesus lead the way in humility and integrity and I don’t think any of us have lost respect for him.

Philippians 2:1-8
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!