Good Leaders and Effective Decision-Making
Leaders are called upon to make decisions. Sometimes the decisions are greeted with enthusiasm, while others are greeted with disdain. If you have ever tried to change your church’s name or construct a new facility, you understand.
Church leaders are often faced with inherent difficulties when decisions need to be made. Depending upon the leader's church polity, a decision may have to be made by a committee or a majority of the congregation in a formal vote. Sometimes an elder or governing board is called upon to make the call. Seldom does the pastor or leader make a decision alone or in a vacuum.
How can we as leaders, in a variety of settings, make good and effective decisions?
I think a large part of the answer comes in asking the right questions. A few of the questions we have asked at LowCountry Community Church follow. I trust they will prove helpful to you, your church, or your organization, the next time an important decision looms:
Instead of asking, "What did we do last year?" ask, "How will this help us reach our goals and fulfill our vision?"Good decisions are seldom made when we only look to the past. Dream big! D. L. Moody said, "If God be your partner, make your plans large."
Instead of asking, "How much will it cost?" ask, "How will the leaders here in 20 years evaluate our response to this issue?" Will they think we were only concerned with numbers and budgets? Or will it be readily apparent that those who went before them never embraced small dreams and safe living?
Instead of asking, "Are we sure a majority of the people will support this?" ask, "What do we sense God telling us to do?" The majority is not always correct. Albert Einstein believed that what is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. Sometimes the right answer lies within the vision of one person. While it is important to listen to many voices, a good leader will not assume the loud voice of the majority is always leading to the right decision.
Instead of asking, "Will that be asking too much of our people?" ask, "Will that really challenge the commitment level of our people?" We all want to be a part of something larger than ourselves, to play a role in doing something far greater than we could ever do alone. Good leaders will help people reach those heights by large challenges.
Instead of asking, "What happens if people don't come on-board with this potential decision?" ask, "Which change should introduce first and which should come later?" Most of the time, major decisions bring about change. And although people give lip service to it, most are not big fans of change - especially if it affects them. When possible, introduce change in bite-size chunks.
A little over a period of time becomes much more manageable for all involved. And eventually the decision will be implemented.
Think these questions through, jotting down your thoughts and observations.
What has to change in my church or organization?
What do I have to do as a leader in order to effect that change?