I have been on the HSM team here at Saddleback for almost two years now (crazy). Our team is exactly that, a team. Different people, doing different things, with different styles, all for the same goal. Josh is a great team leader. But I do have to say, if you are not used to working on a team (or maybe you don’t but you do have a supervisor whom you have to answer too) it can be really hard to get into the swing of things with it comes to learning how to lead when you already have a leader. Luckily, I have have an amazing team leader, but I do know not all of us are that lucky and can struggle with this area. So how can you still lead while not really being the “leader”? How can you be a good to great support staff for the ministry leader?
These are just some thoughts and notes I have learned over the past two years:
Know your boss – I know you know your boss, but know what makes your boss tick. What do they bleed? Evangelism? Small groups? Events? New ides? What? Listen to what they speak about and what they are excited about. That will give you clues! People will listen to you more if they think you genuinely care about what they care about.
You can still lead from the middle- You may not be the lead, but that does not mean you still can’t think like one. If you know your boss, you know what drives them. Think, plan, come up with ideas that will positively effect the organization as whole, not just what will give you the attention and then act on it.
Build up your credibility – How do you do that? Be good at what you do. If people know you can get things done, your head will come to you more often because they know you can get it done.
Know how your boss communicates best – At Saddleback, email is the life of communication. Not phone calls, not texts, not notes. Email. I know if I text Josh, I could get something back in 5 minutes or the next day (family takes priority, texts get lost, etc.) Email is his wheel house and I know he appreciates email over texts about anything work wise, so I want to respect it and I know its the most efficient. I came from a church before that was small enough to where you can walk over to any desk at any department at any time to ask something if you needed it. So getting used the the email thing took a while.
Help your lead be successful – When they are successful, you are successful. Take action. Act on what needs to be done. Be center of an issue that will not only benefit you, but the ministry as a whole. When you win. The boss wins. The whole ministry wins. Bleed what they bleed. Celebrate what they celebrate. You are support staff, so support and serve in a way that brings success to the whole ministry, not just for you to shine. Your vision is their vision. They are hired to cast vision and they hired you to help carry out that vision.
I know it’s not always easy, but trust me it’s easier when you learn to do these things and be a leader when you’re not the main leader. Everyone benefits. You. Your boss. The organization.