2 Leadership/HR Principles You Must NEVER Confuse

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 6:50:00 AM Categories: Leadership
Rate this Content 5 Votes

Many supporting pastors at churches (I.e. Youth pastors, small-group pastors, worship pastors, children’s pastors, etc.) Get discouraged by their senior pastor’s micromanagement.

Some people like to be micromanaged, because they don’t want to be accused of thinking too far outside the box or pushing the limits. So micromanagement fits them because someone comes along side them and tells him what to do every step of the way.

However, leaders don’t like to be micromanaged…in fact, they hate it.  Most people who are hired to work on a church staff are leaders (meaning true leaders, not just those who are given the title “leader”, but those who actually have a gift for leadership). Checking up on every detail in a true leader’s work life feels to them like a lack of trust. Leaders never thrive in an environment where there is a lack of trust.

The bottom line for micro managers is this: stop it!! You are sucking the joy out of the people you are leading. When their work is not a joy, they will eventually no longer want to work for you. Micromanagers ensure that their organization will have a revolving door with staff going in and out all the time.


The Difference Between Micro and Macromanagement From Senior Leadership’s Perspective

Okay, let’s shift gears; my intent for the first part of this post is to address something that should never be mixed up or confused with micromanagement, and that’s MACROmanagement. What do I mean? Macromanagement is vision. It is setting the course from 30,000 feet, pointing the direction, determining the strategy, getting the team excited, and letting them run to fulfill the vision!

There are two tragic mistakes in organizational life where macromanagement is concerned. The first tragedy, is when there is no macromanagement. Vision is the fuel for your organization, and for those you lead. Vision excites them motivates them, inspires in them, makes them want to try harder, and ultimately creates a stronger work-ethic.

The second tragic mistake regarding macromanagement is when macromanagement and micromanagement are confused with one another.  They are sometimes confused because they both get results. However, they do it in very different ways: micromanagement gets results by lighting a fire under peoples butts, but macromanagement gets results by lighting a fire in people’s hearts!  Remember, micromanagement is about the small picture and macromanagement is about the big picture.

If you’re an organizational leader, the first question you should be asking yourself today is “Am I motivating my team through nitpicking, pestering and over-analyzation, or am I motivating my team with inspiration, action,and vision?” You’ll always lead further faster by motivating with the latter ingredients as opposed to the former.

Organizational leaders are at their best when they lead from a position of macromanagement rather than micromanagement. Macromanagement is about managing the passion and excitement level of your organization rather than managing every nuanced detail of your organization.

Okay, enough with my rant toward organizational leaders and micromanagement.  Tomorrow I’ll write to those on staff who feel like they’re being micromanaged.

For now, what are the ways you’ve seen macromanagement in action?


The Difference Between Micro and Macromanagement From Staff’s Perspective

Now let’s shift gears once more and address those of you who are not in senior leadership and feel like you’re being micromanaged. It’s vital that you also never confuse micromanagement with macromanagement!

When I was a youth pastor my senior pastor once came in and told me something very specific he wanted to see happen in the student ministry. He told me that he wanted me to minister not only to students but also to intentionally minister to the volunteers and to the parents. In one statement I felt like he’d tripled my work!

It got worse when he started getting a little too detailed for my comfort. He said that he wanted my primary emphasis to be on the volunteers and the parents rather than the students. This felt counterintuitive to me. After all, my title was ‘youth pastor’. “Shouldn’t my first priority be ministering to the students?” I wondered to myself.

Then this new work assignment got even more granular.  He told me he wanted me to start having a parent-gathering at least once every six weeks, and that every month I should have a relational-type-event with all of my volunteers. At the time, I found this extremely annoying! I felt like he was micromanaging me. On the inside I was indignant. I was thinking to myself “Who does he think he is coming in here and telling me how to run my ministry?”

Thankfully, I kept my mouth shut and I did what he asked. What I discovered was that he, in fact, did not micromanage me. Instead, he pointed me in a very intentional direction and told me the vision behind it. The reason he wanted me to invest in parents and volunteers was because doing so would ensure that students would not fall through the cracks. He set a specific direction on a macro level (30,000 feet) and then set me loose to fulfill that vision.

At the end of the day, all of the fine details regarding how I executed this vision were mine to decide. His direction was detailed and clear, but I had tremendous freedom within the boundaries of the vision he had created for me. What I initially found annoying, became something empowering. By letting me focus on the micro-details and decisions on my own, while simultaneously giving me a macro-direction, my senior pastor set me up for huge success. By focusing my attention on adults first and the students second, our youth ministry more than doubled in the next year.

So if you’re a supporting staff member in an organization and you feel frustrated by perceived micromanagement, ask yourself, “Am my really being micromanaged, or am I being given a specific directive and allowed the leeway to fulfill that directive how I see fit?”  Never confuse specifics for micromanagement.  Good macromanagment requires plenty of specifics so you’ll know when you’re successfully fulfilling the vision.

Oh yeah, if after you read this post you still feel like your leadership is micromanaging you, remember this statement that I read in a post by Brady Boyd:  ”I will only have as much spiritual authority as I am willing to submit to myself.  Independence will destroy me, but there is power in submission.”

Alan Danielson is the Senior Pastor of New Life Bible Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Previously he served as Central Team Leader for LifeGroups at LifeChurch.tv in Edmond, OK, where he led over a thousand small groups on LifeChurch’s thirteen campuses in six different states. He then founded 3Threat.net to help leaders master three essential leadership skills: vision-casting, creating strategy and fostering relationships. Alan is a popular conference speaker and consults regularly with ministries and leaders on topics relating to small groups and leadership. Learn more from Alan at 3Threat.net