Senior pastors and ministry leaders must make hour-by-hour decisions of how to allocate their most precious resource: Their time with subordinates. Our pastoral hearts nudge us to hang out with our direct reports, to edify and encourage them and to provide guidance for the many issues of the day.
Most of us struggle to set daily priorities and accomplish everything needed to help us conclude we made progress today. We purpose to spend time in preparation, publishing and pushing projects to completion. Often, we realize we are more focused on processes over people. Love leaders place priority on leading people.
Through the years, I developed a system to help me allocate time to my direct reports. It's not a flawless plan, and many will find issues with my decisions to allocate unequal portions of time among the leaders who report to me. So I offer my system while recognizing you may see yours as better because it's what you use and believe in.
I place my leaders in three categories:
— A-leaders make the greatest impact on the organization as a whole. These leaders touch processes, people and primary metrics. Their footprints imprint many key areas of the organization.
— B-leaders get things done behind the scenes. This leader lacks the experience or gifting to assign to a critical project. However, we can't imagine a day at work without our B leaders because they get things done under attentive coaching.
— C-leaders are probably in training, have little experience, yet demonstrate potential to develop as a leader. Sometimes a C-leader has been employed for over 10 years, but we continue to believe in the potential we identified many years ago. C-Leaders can be on their way into true leadership or on their way out of the organization.
I employ the Pareto principle in allocating time with leaders. Assuming I set my time at 20% for one-on-one contact with leaders (your total time allocation is a judgment call) and assuming a 50-hour work week, I choose to spend around 10 hours per week with leaders, including meeting time (80% of my leader time.). This leaves me about four hours per week for B and C leaders.
My goal is to spend 80% of my time with my A-leaders. So I would spend at least eight hours with my A-leaders every week. My reasoning is simple—I can have the biggest impact on the organization through leaders who have the highest performance levels.
It may seem counterintuitive, but I believe if I were to spend all week with a C-leader, the organization would suffer. I much prefer to give C-leaders books and a detailed performance plan. I choose to spend about one hour per week with C-leaders, not counting meetings.
I'll spend about three hours each week with B-leaders. My goal is to help them develop into A-leaders while getting things done for the organization. I work with these leaders one on one with smaller projects and the expectation to execute with excellence. Excellence is caught and taught. I teach them by doing projects side by side.
When I fail to spend time with my leaders because I'm busy with other processes and priorities the organization tends to stagnate. We sprout cobwebs.
Love leaders allocate time for their team because the Lord called leaders to develop the human resources assigned to them. All leaders must account for how they multiply the gifts on their team.
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Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
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