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You’re Doing Leadership Wrong. There, Jesus Fixed It.

3. Seeing staff (and volunteer) churn as healthy.

Many churches have bought into some aspect of top grading made famous by Jack Welch when he ran General Electric. The basic idea is that you only want “A players” on your team. To achieve this goal, an organization regularly grades the staff; the A players are rewarded while the B and C players are weeded out.

Some churches regularly force out 10 to 30 percent of their staff to continually upgrade their leadership. While other churches might not be quite so pragmatic, the idea of consistently weeding out underperformers is almost universal.

The logic and results of this approach are hard to argue with. The challenge is this isn’t how Jesus’ led.

He didn’t force Peter to resign because he just didn’t get it. He didn’t suggest to Thomas that he might want to look around for another rabbi since he didn’t seem to buy into Jesus’ vision. If Jesus utilized top grading he would certainly have let Bartholomew and Thaddaeus go for underperformance. 

4. Replacing rather than developing staff.

When youth group attendance stops growing, it’s time to get a new youth pastor. When a ministry struggles, it’s time to replace the volunteer with a staff member. When the children’s director struggles managing multiple campuses, it’s time to find a higher capacity leader.

Simon Sinek shares the story of Next Jump, a company that has a “no fire policy.” From their website:

We don’t hire employees, we adopt family members. We don’t fire at Next Jump, we coach.

Charlie Kim, Next Jump’s CEO, says no one would lay off an underperforming family member, why would a company? 

Sure, that works at a secular company, but could a church that follows the teachings of Jesus operate that way? I don’t know, but wouldn’t it be fun to try?

Where do we go from here?

My point isn’t that “they” are doing it wrong, my fear is that I am doing it wrong. I have read so many leadership books and studied so many successful models that I wonder if I have unintentionally moved away from Jesus’ model. Jesus was very clear,

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.

What churches do a great job of demonstrating Jesus’ model of leadership?