‘Accountability’ is a word we toss around in the church when we discuss spiritual formation, but it’s not often connected to the idea of accountability for results and goals in ministry. In the local church, that concept is often missing or viewed with skepticism.
Here’s the truth: accountability for results and goals is actually something highly effective people desire. Without it, they can’t possibly know how you feel about their work or how they are helping you move the ministry forward. If you lead without accountability, you will continually struggle to retain talented people. So, how do you implement accountability in a simple, non-intimidating fashion?
Your church staff should be trained and equipped to know exactly what they’re supposed to do and what success looks like. Here are three ways to make that happen.
- Reframe your job descriptions. Your job descriptions should be simple, straightforward, and clear in two vital areas: what the job or role is directly responsible for, and how success will be measured. Written in this fashion, your job descriptions provide clarity for everyone and become a document you refer to on a regular basis to assess performance.
- Develop individual planning tools. No matter what your overarching vision and mission is as a church, you can condense it down into individual goals and objectives for every member of your staff. You can use church volunteer management software to work with each person you lead to develop short-term ‘ministry plans’ to help them identify how they will move their area of responsibility forward in the next three to six months. Here are the key ingredients:
- Description of an envisioned future: This needs to take a longer-term view. Think about the reality you want to be true for the person or team in one to three years.
- Description of the current reality: Confront and document the brutal facts of where things stand today.
- Short-term projects: What improvements can be made to close the gap between the current reality and the envisioned future over the next three to six months? Limit this to no more than six projects.
- Outcomes: What will be different when the short-term projects are complete? These outcomes must be specific and measurable. Be sure each outcome has a one-to-one relationship with a project.
- Allow your staff to speak openly with you. Accountability must go both ways. Allowing people the freedom to speak into your leadership creates an environment of safety, which must exist for the sake of healthy accountability. Here are three questions every leader at Church Community Builder asks the people they lead on a regular basis. I personally gain incredible insight from the answers.
- What do I do that encourages you?
- What do I do that discourages you?
- What one thing could I do to lead you better?
Accountability doesn’t have to be a scary word or a concept that only exists in the business world. It’s really just about providing clarity for people around why they’re here and how they can make a difference.
Do you feel like there is healthy accountability in place with your staff?