What do Zappos, Apple, Chick-fil-a, Starbucks, and the Container Store all have in common?
Well, yes, they all are crazy successful, but what else? Give up?
They all contain a culture of authenticity. Employees at each of these companies are known for consistently conveying a genuine love for the company and generally resonating with the company’s core values.
The first people to know if your church is who it says it is will be your church staff. The primary congregation for executive leaders is the staff. If the staff isn't on board, then you can't expect them to grow and sustain a thriving, healthy ministry.
Too often there's a disconnect between the stated mission and values of a church and the values that it expresses through the time, money, and sacrifice of church leadership. This tendency results in cynicism and demotivation for the staff. (It doesn't end there, either.)
Just like any organization, a church whose stated values don’t line up with the values expressed in the church offices Monday through Friday will leave staff leadership feeling cynical and limited in their ability to ignite ministry activity.
So how can senior leaders develop a culture of authenticity?
- Practice authentic leadership.
Staff and church members must see senior leadership being the same on and off the platform. There has to be a consistent approach to accomplishing the mission and ministry in any church. Any inconsistency leaves the door open for trusted relationships to be broken.
- Celebrate successes along the way.
A spirit of thanksgiving should be present in any staff meeting, no matter how dire the circumstances. Highlight staff members when they do things well. Senior leaders should give away as much credit as possible. Don't just let people hear you say what's not working. Make sure your staff knows you see their success, too.
- Value honest feedback and transparency.
Senior leaders should be accessible to staff to talk in person about anything. Access is one of the highest compliments a leader can give to those who work under them. Listen and encourage honesty at every level.
- Read the book Leadership and Self-Deception!
Your ability to help people achieve the results you desire is often hampered by your focus on yourself. I can say this because I do it too! This book will help you see and lead your staff (your friends and family too!) in a whole new way.
Like a business, the morale of a church staff hinges on the alignment between decisions we make and things we say are important to us. Your staff knows the truth about your church, and it will influence the passion they bring to the table as they minister to the community.
As a senior leader, how do you stay consistent on and off the platform? As a staff member, what can senior leaders do to keep and maintain your trust?