10 Leadership Mistakes Children's Ministry Leaders Make

"Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes." Oscar Wilde

Let's look at 10 common leadership mistakes that children's ministry leaders make.  I have made most of, if not, all of these mistakes at times in my ministry.  

I trust this will help us to avoid these common leadership mistakes. If you can learn how to avoid these, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble down the road. 

1. Not providing feedback.  A poll of 1,400 executives polled, says failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make.  When you don't provide feedback, you are depriving your team members of the opportunity to improve as a leader.

2. Not spending time with your team.  Some leaders get so wrapped up in their own workload that they don't make themselves available to their team.  Remember, as a leader, your first responsibility is to invest in your team members.  Block out time in your schedule to meet with your key team leaders.

3.  Not getting involved enough.  The flip side of micromanaging is not getting involved and not providing clear instructions and goals.  There is a fine line between micromanaging and leadership.  

Micromanaging - telling your team member what to do and how to do it.

Hand's Off - assigning a team member to do a task and letting them decide how they want to accomplish it.

Find the balance between these two strategies.  Your team members will love you for it.  

4. Not setting clear goals.  Team members need to know what they are working for and what they are supposed to accomplish.  When they don't have clear goals they may lose motivation and purpose.  Make sure everyone has a clear job description and are given clear goals to accomplish.

5. Not motivating your team.  As a leader, you have to set the pace.  You should be a passionate leader who points people to the big goals and encourages them as they work.  

"Be a thermostat instead of a thermometer.  A thermostat controls the spiritual temperature while a thermometer only measures the spiritual temperature."

6. Hurried On-boarding.  When you have empty roles to fill, it can cause you to rush and take short-cuts that shouldn't be taken with potential staff and volunteers.  Rushing to fill a vacant role can cause you to make some big mistakes.  You waste valuable time and resources if it doesn't work out.

7.  Not leading by example.  As the leader, you have to be a role model for your team.  This means if you ask them to go the second mile on a project or assignment, that you are there as well, putting in the extra hours it takes to finish the project.  

Your team is watching you.  They won't go where you haven't been yourself.  Lead the way with your attitude, commitment, passion and vision.

8.  Not delegating.  Do you delegate or do you feel like no one can do the job except you?  This can cause bottlenecks in the work flow and lead to burn-out.  Not only does this effect your team members, but it also effects you as the leader also. 

9. Not understanding your role.  Your role is to empower your team members to do the work of the ministry.  Your role is not to do the work, but rather to equip others to do the work of the ministry.   

 "A good leader is a star.  A great leader creates stars." 

" A good leader is powerful.  A great leader is empowering."  

10.  Not showing appreciation.  Do you take time to celebrate the wins with your team?  Do you say "thank you" on a regular basis?  Do you push others into the spotlight rather than trying to make yourself look good?  Do you write thank you notes to your teammates?  

Make your team look good rather than making yourself look good. 

Closing thoughts...

We all make mistakes.  And we can use those mistakes as learning opportunities.  Learn from them and don't make the same mistake twice.  This will help you become productive and respected by your team.