We all know the time-honored phrase and what accompanies it, “Why are you hitting yourself?” It is repeated by older siblings, classmates and others as they grab our hand, overpower us, and beat us silly.
While it may not happen physically to us, as we get older and stronger, it still does sometimes happens in adulthood, even in ministry settings. It continues through micromanagement and controlling leadership that beat us up emotionally, socially and spiritually.
Here are some reasons to help you understand why it happens…
A micromanaging leader has been allowed to lead in that way. Due to success or relationships, they have been empowered or embraced to lead in a certain way because of a context of perceived success. Others, who would normally stand up against such a leadership style, are put in a situation where they cannot in context to numbers, money or influence.
Like bullies on the playground, these leaders lead in this way, because they have found a setting that allows it.
Micro managers are controllers. Every opportunity where they can feel in control they will take it. Whether it be double checking your presentation, choosing the paint color of the offices, or handing out a long list of expectations, it all comes down to feeling like they have control. Instead of being allowed to accomplish something, you are slowed down or completely stopped in making progress.
Like the big brother that grabs your hand and turns it around to smack you in the face with it, these leaders need to feel like they are in control of your efforts.
The danger for every leader, as they move to a place of leading others, is a sense of pride. After being themselves humbled by failures or experiencing limited success, they are finally given a position seen to mark their final success. These leader often having been micromanaged by others in the past, turn around and respond in kind when given a new role leading you. Ministry can be both a humbling and prideful leadership experience.
Like the little kid that has been pushed around, that finally gets his growth spurt and finds himself bigger that those around him, conceited leaders trap themselves in a negative cycle of life.
Break the cycle, respond differently and choose to be a different kind of leader when God blesses you with the opportunity. Hhere is how…
As a leader under another leader or over another leader, make a choice to be considerate and humble in how you will lead. While leading under another leader, “offer your hand” to them and be willing to submit to their control even if it seems uncomfortable. As a leader leading another leader ask for their hand in guiding them to improve their area of ministry.
Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility consider others above yourselves.”
Relationships are about give and take, and conceding to another. It also applies to leadership relationships, when we make a concession to someone else whether we lead under or over them. Changing the leadership model and style cycle in a church or organization is done through offering your hand and your face without holding back anything.
Luke 6:29, “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”
Like the advice we give the students in our ministries or our own personal children, sometimes the best conclusion is just to walk away. While we need to be willing to be considerate and concede in a situation, sometimes the final answer is the only answer, to draw a position to a conclusion and move on.
Proverbs 14:7, “Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.”
This is what I, myself, have recent done moving on from the place I was serving to NOW be blessed to join a healthy, loving staff led by amazing, Godly men who too, have had their own stories of hurt but now choose to lead differently.
DAN ISTVANIK is the 5th to 8th grade pastor at Victory Church in Lancaster, PA. He has been working in youth ministry for over 20 years serving churches in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Virginia. Besides serving in the local church setting he is also the youth ministry content writer for Parent Ministry.Net, along with being a contributor to a variety of other great youth ministry resources like Youthworker Journal, Group Magazine, Download Youth Ministry, and more. Additional he shares daily Jr. high/middle school ministry specific resources, and hints on his own blog “The JH Uth Guy” at: JRHIGHUTHGUY.BLOGSPOT.COM