15 Proven Ways to Suck the Life Out of Your Church Staff

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Originally posted February 18, 2013

Ever tried to suck the life out of your own staff?

I’m sure that’s never crossed your mind.

And yet, when you spend as much time in churches and with church teams as I do, from time to time you come away thinking that this is exactly what’s going on.

You see, sometimes, usually through sheer lack of awareness, church leaders appear to be going out of their way to ensure a demoralized, de-motivated staff.

While not exhaustive, here is what I have found to be the top 15 proven ways to suck the life out of your church staff.

If your goal is have a team of fired-up, aligned, highly motivated ministry leaders on your team, avoid these strategies at all cost.

  1. When someone complains about a staff member, always assume the complainer has a legitimate beef. Take the complainer’s side when you meet with your staff person.
  2. Never drop by a staff member’s office (except when you want something).
  3. Never attend their ministry gatherings.
  4. Make them jump through hoops before approving their request to attend a conference.
  5. Don’t show up at staff parties and functions. (If you must, show up late and stay for just a few minutes).
  6. Withhold information.
  7. Don’t involve them in leadership conversations, unless it’s specifically about their department.
  8. Constantly compare them to their counterpart running “that great ministry in the church down the street”.
  9. Don’t answer their emails or voicemails. If you must respond, take a very long time to do so.
  10. Impose significant change on them without seeking their input.
  11. Set high expectations for results without the necessary resources.
  12. Never give them a shout-out in “big church”.
  13. Avoid showing interest in their lives outside the office.
  14. Make a big deal about small mistakes.
  15.  Make a small deal about their big ministry wins.

Remember, no team ever drifted towards being a charged up, motivated team of go-getters. Building that kind of team requires diligence and intentionality.

But you can build that kind of team.

And your starting place could well be avoiding each of these de-motivators.

What would you add to this list?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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