Key Lessons for Those Who Lead from the Middle

Every effective organization has a leader and there can only be one at the helm. He or she will be most effective if they surround themselves with other capable team members who are called upon to lead from the middle. Always remember that an organization with no head is dead and an organization with more than one head is a monster. How do you help those who lead from the middle? If you are leading from the middle, take heart. God can use you mightily and you can exert great influence. I recently heard that the disposition of a leader is more important than the position. Here are some lessons I have learned about leading from the middle for you to apply or to pass along to team members.

  1. It is the leader’s prerogative to have the final word. You will not always agree. He or she will not always be right. But, it is the leader’s prerogative to make the final call. Your role is first to help the leader to make a good decision. Do your research. Share your thoughts. Build a relationship that allows you to say what you think and even disagree because of the trust that you share. Once a decision is made, you should support the decision. That is tough to do sometimes, but that is your responsibility. In the most egregious of circumstances and in the event that you cannot be supportive, you should step aside. I am not speaking to issues of morality or integrity at this point. Always stand for those issues to the end. But, generally speaking, the leader bears responsibility for the final decision.
  2. You will never have enough staff. I know what you are thinking. If we only had more staff then we could really move this church or organization forward. I have been on staffs of all sizes from two to two-hundred and we never have had enough. Don’t sit around waiting on additional staff. Use your talents, gifts, and experience to move your organization forward. Progress does not necessarily follow the addition of more staff members. Additional staff members usually follow the progress of the current staff. Focus on your mission and your responsibility. Give greater attention to what you have than to what you wish you had.
  3. You will never have enough in your budget. Okay. I admit that some people are blessed and the budget has more than they can spend. You are likely not in that situation. The thinking here is the same as in point number two. If we had more money we could… Never let the size of your budget, determine what you can get done. See large financial resources as a blessing and not as a necessity. I say this particularly for those who serve in ministry. Resources do not necessarily bring you people. Reach people and they will bring additional resources. I am not just speaking of finances. People bring additional talents, time, and strength to the church or organization you lead.
  4. You may be doing something different in a couple of years. If your ministry or business grows or succeeds, the roles of the team members will, because of necessity have to change. Enjoy what you do, but understand that what you do will likely need to change in the future. That means you need to grow and to be flexible. This is also good news if you do not enjoy what you are doing. I experienced this for over a year earlier in my ministry, but stayed focused leading the organization to grow, which opened new opportunities for me in a short span of time. It is good to do what you enjoy. It is equally important to learn to enjoy what you do. Work, after all, is a blessing. If you don’t believe me, let me put you in touch with friends who have been out of work for a while.

To respect your time, I will pick up next week. I want to do all I can to help you to maximize your leadership!