There is so much stress involved in hiring the right person for a team. It would be difficult for our team to call me a micro-manager. Delegation is one of my personal values, but knowing how important it is to add the right people to our team, this has always been one of the few areas I have such a strong voice in how it's done and who joins our team. In our current context, I have spoken into the hiring process from an executive pastor to a someone on our facilities team.
Over the years, I've made plenty of mistakes, but I've also managed—in the business world and the church world—to develop some pretty healthy teams.
There is one secret I have learned, however, that while it doesn't necessarily keep you from hiring the wrong person, it can take some of the stress out of the process. And hopefully help you have a healthier team and happier and more effective team members.
I have done this with great success in hiring several staff positions for several teams. And it's simple.
Build the Job Description Around the Person.
Set an overall vision for what you're trying to achieve. Hire the best person you can find for the position. (Go for character, competency, culture and chemistry.) Then build the job description, with the person's help, around the person you hire.
If they excel in administrative tasks then the job description may have more administrative tasks.
If they excel in creative tasks then the job description may have more inventive tasks.
Find people you believe can help shape a healthy team. Add people to the team you trust. Then let them help you define exactly how they will do the job. This is true whether they are paid or volunteer.
This approach allows you to hire for experience and fit with the team. But this approach doesn't limit you to finding an exact replica of a clearly defined, narrowly focused job description.
If you're hiring a small-groups pastor, for example, certainly look for someone who loves small-group ministry. Make sure they love Jesus, share the same general beliefs of the church and so forth, but don't dictate how they will grow, develop and lead the small-group ministry.
Here's the deal. I ultimately want a strong team. I want people who share an overall vision with me. But I don't want to script how they accomplish their specific part of the vision.
This way of hiring allows me to be a leader instead of a manager. It frees people to be leaders instead of employees. It helps us achieve more than a rigid structured environment ever could.
And best of all, it makes for a much happier team.
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com.
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