Ron Edmondson is a pastor and student of leadership. He blogs regularly on church and organizational leadership, family and God.
Posted 4/8/15 at 11:12 AM | Ron Edmondson
I have held a senior leadership position for over 20 years and been in leadership over 30 years. In this post, I want to express some things I’ve observed (and experienced) as some of the critical abilities that a senior leader must have to be effective.
The intent of this post is not to appear arrogant as a senior leader, as if I have qualities others may not have, although I’m confidant some will take it that way. (Isn’t being misunderstood part of being a senior leader at times?) I’m not afraid to admit my weaknesses — of which I have many — but there are certain abilities senior leaders need to do their job well.
And, you may not be able to understand that completely until you’ve served as a senior leader. That’s true of many things in life. Take parenting:
The point is that sometimes we can’t understand something until we experience it firsthand. FULL POST
Posted 4/2/15 at 9:31 AM | Ron Edmondson
In a previous post I wrote “Leave Before You Have To”. Sometimes it’s more damaging to stay than to quit.
I am asked frequently to help someone think through the decision of whether to stay or to leave their current position. Obviously, if God calls you to stay somewhere, you should stay. Period. No questions asked. If God calls you to it — even when you’re miserable — you stay.
But many times, in my experience, we stay for the wrong reasons. We stay for a false sense of loyalty. We stay because we are afraid. We stay because we don’t know what we would do if we left.
The following are some times to consider leaving. I think these may apply if you are in a church or business setting.
This decision should never been entered lightly. I believe in loyalty. But, when careful consideration and prayer has been given, there are some common indications it’s time to move on to something else. FULL POST
Posted 4/1/15 at 3:04 PM | Ron Edmondson
I get to hang out with many senior pastors. I have a great heart for them and understand, firsthand, some of the pressures, frustrations and joys, which are unique to the role of a senior pastor. In my recent blog survey, over half my readers are in ministry and half that number are senior leaders.
When I first shared the points in this post a few years ago it was at a conference for executive pastors. I was asked to give my perspective as a senior pastor, since each of them reported to one. Specifically, the request was to share some things about senior pastors they may not know. I honestly didn’t realize what I was sharing would be so revealing for some of them. They didn’t know some of these about their senior leader.
And, granted, I can’t speak for every senior pastor in every church. I can only speak in generalities from what I know and personally experience — in my life and among the senior pastors I know. Thankfully, this blog platform and my personal ministry has afforded me access to hundreds of senior pastors. FULL POST
Posted 3/30/15 at 10:15 AM | Ron Edmondson
Have you ever tried to lead someone who didn’t want to be led?
The same children that were labeled “strong-willed” by their parents often grow up to be strong-willed adults. Perhaps you know one. Perhaps you are one.
(I know one personally — me!)
But, have you ever tried to lead one?
It’s not easy.
In fact, I’m convinced many strong-willed people end up leading just because they couldn’t be led — and yet they probably didn’t need to lead. But, no one ever learned to lead them.
And, I’m not sure I am an expert. But, I have some ideas — since I’m speaking to my own kind.
Give clear expectations
Everyone responds best when they know what is expected of them. That is especially true of those with strong opinions of their own — shall I say — those of us more stubborn people. If you have a definite idea of how something needs to be done and you leave it as an undefined gray area — we will redefine things our way. Keep this in mind with strong-willed people: Rules should be few and make sense or they’ll likely be resisted or broken more often. FULL POST
Posted 3/26/15 at 2:29 PM | Ron Edmondson
After one of my posts about controlling leadership, I received this question:
Any chance there is an upcoming post or two on how/when/where to confront a controlling leader? Especially for those of us who have had it drilled into our heads from childhood to not question authority? Some practical, nitty gritty tips would be really helpful.
That’s a pretty big request and I’m not sure I can speak into specific situations with a general response, but I think it’s a topic worth considering.
I wrote previously. In my previous post I wrote about the 3 options with a controlling leader. They are Quit, Compromise or Collaborate. In order to get to collaboration — which most of us would want — there almost always has to be a challenge to the controlling leadership. This would be an expansion of the “challenge” thought. FULL POST
Posted 3/24/15 at 11:00 AM | Ron Edmondson
I regularly talk to young leaders through my blog and many of them feel they are working for a controlling leader.
In a recent post I talked about the 3 results of controlling leadership.
In full disclosure, one of my top strengths on the StrengthsFinder assessment is COMMAND. I’ll take over if no one else in the room will — so some of the young leaders on my team may have felt that way about me at times. I have to discipline myself not to be a controlling leader.
But, it’s a value for me personally not to be one, so I consistently try to evaluate. (And, I’ve let teams I lead evaluate me.) And, also granted, as I’ve posted previously, I believe there are some things a leader needs to control — especially early in their leadership. For example, I have controlled (or micro-managed) the hiring of key staff members during my beginning years of church revitalization. We are changing a culture. I am building a team — one I don’t have to control. And, that’s worked well so far. FULL POST
Posted 3/20/15 at 1:07 PM | Ron Edmondson
Some of life’s greatest lessons come packaged in a hard personal experience. I’ve learned a few things in life, but truly, the greatest things I know came through mistakes, failures and disappointments.
What are some hard lessons you’ve had to learn?
Posted 3/19/15 at 10:33 AM | Ron Edmondson
As I write this, we are approaching spring on the calendar, but today is a cold day that follows two warm, very nice days. A couple weeks ago we had 17 inches of snow on the ground. A couple days ago I was able to run outside in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Warmer days are predicted later this week.
Like the saying goes in my part of the world, “If you don’t like the weather now — stick around — it will change.”
Seasons. They come and they go. Sometimes quickly.
Life is like that.
Ecclesiastes says there’s a time for everything. Everything has a season.
Good seasons. Bad seasons.
Productive seasons. Growth seasons. And, seasons of decline.
Seasons of mourning. Grief. Seasons of laughter. Jubilee.
Seasons where there are more obstacles than opportunities. Often followed by seasons where we can’t seem to find time for all the opportunities.
There are seasons of stretching, where God seems to shape something new in our hearts. And, we often don’t know what that new is until we enter another season. FULL POST
Posted 3/18/15 at 1:16 PM | Ron Edmondson
Much of what a leader does can seem unproductive at times.
For someone wired for production — progress — checklist completion — even wasted.
I’ll admit, even though I know this in my leadership knowledge, I have to discipline myself to practice them sometimes.
Yet, every good leader I know specializes in intangible actions that don’t always produce visible, immediate results.
In fact, these actions are probably the most productive part of their work.
In order for the team to thrive, there are things which may seem unproductive that the leader must spend time doing.
Let me share some examples from my own leadership.
Praying. Did I need to share that one? And, yet I do. For my reminder and most leaders I know. Yes, even pastors. We can get so busy making decisions, putting out fires and handling routines that we fail to stop and pray. What could be happening in our leadership if we spent more time praying? (That’s a sobering question.) FULL POST
Posted 3/17/15 at 12:10 PM | Ron Edmondson
Pastor, there are some things your church can’t do for you.
They simply can’t.
Please understand. I love the church. Greatly. I’m a local church guy. But, they simply can’t do these things for you.
And, if you think they can, or you leave it up to them to do these things, you’ll someday find out the hard way — they can’t.
I’ve watched it many times as pastors didn’t do these. They followed the demands of the church and somehow expected the church to be providing these needs. It caused a void.
Some pastors have even crashed and burned waiting for someone else to do for them what only they could do.
Granted, you may have the greatest church of your ministry career, but regardless of how wonderful the church is they can’t do all the things for you that your soul, personal life and ministry demands.
You’ll have to do them yourself — by God’s grace — if they’re going to be done. FULL POST