Leadership Transitions

Transitions are like delivering a baby; difficult for a while but when the baby arrives it’s the cutest thing you have ever seen! They are also difficult because something dies or closes for something new to give birth and there are so many unknowns in the process. Solomon describes the paradox of life this way “there is a right time for everything under the sun – a time to be born; a time to die; a time to plant; a time to harvest, a time to destroy, a time to rebuild’ (Ecc 3, TLB). For every season of our lives there is a beginning and there is an end. However, Jesus comforts us with these words from Matthew 6 “your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well what you need and he will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as he wants you to. So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time” (TLB).

 For many of us, as we move through various stages of our lives, we reach junctions – TollBooths2points of transition. Some challenges require us to rise to the occasion – they will either become tollbooths we progress through or roadblocks.The price to go through the tollbooth might be a tough decision we must make, or a situation we must leave behind; it may mean a class we must take, or a job we must quit. We must calibrate our expectations, manage disappointments, and be realistic about the speed and ease of our lives. The best solution then, is to learn adaptability. We must balance how we possess expectations, but also realize that a wonderful gift may not be wrapped as we expect.” ~ Dr. Tim Elmore – Habitudes for the Journey

If we are pliable in God’s hand – yielded to His will, His thoughts and His ways, then we become more flexible – more adaptable to times of transition and change and, as a result we grow in our dependence on the Holy Spirit. Reminds me of this paraphrase of Matthew 11:6 “blessed is he who does not get offended at [how I choose to operate My kingdom on this earth]” (paraphrase by Virgina Young). Recently, our Corporate Training Team went through a major transition which was painful but I had to rest in the fact that God had everything under control and He had each one’s best interest at heart. We all had to spend significant amount of time with the Lord as we contemplated the next season. God is good and He is faithful to perfect the good work He started in us.

It is with mixed emotions of sadness, and yet excitement, that we say goodbye to Karissa Corpeny and Andrew Chalmers who served our emerging leaders and staff for 8 years and 4 years respectively. Karissa moved on to start her own consulting business and Andrew started Take the City as a non-profit organization. Please keep them in prayer in their new endeavors. Dustin Nance is now the Divisional Leader in charge of Training which means ELP will merge with the Emerging Leaders College. There is a creative team that will be assessing the structure of ELP and looking for ways to provide more role-specific training for Teen Challenge staff. We look forward to see what God births in this new season.

Some coaching questions to ask as you go through a transition:

How am I balancing my expectations with reality?

Am I in a season of giving birth or closure?

What do I see when I assess the speed and ease of my life?

What are the themes that are consistent when God is preparing me for a transition?

Articled submitted by: Andree Aiken – ELP Leader/Coach

 

Enrich Culture – Developing People

In Teen Challenge we would say that we are “student-focused” – and we should be. However, sometimes a leader can be so student-focused that they look past the staff they are leading and, along with them, place most of their emphasis on the students. While a key leader may retain some aspects of student ministry, their primary ministry is to the people on the team they lead. And when a leader is growing and developing the people they lead, they can be sure the students will be growing and developing as well. So last month we looked at how a leader enriches culture through the practical skill of hiring the right people, this month we’ll look at the practical skill of developing people. Ken Blanchard, in his book “The Servant Leader”, says that a “key element of being a servant leader is to consider people’s development as an equal end goal as their performance.” Blanchard offers up a simple model for developing people with what he calls “Situational Leadership” and illustrates how Jesus was a Situational Leader. This model recognizes SLII-Color-Model-Exp_inprthat people are always on a development continuum based on 2 things: commitment and competence. When you started with Teen Challenge your commitment was high as you answered God’s call, but your competence was low because you’re new on the job, you have a lot to learn. Blanchard calls this an “enthusiastic beginner”. As you begin to learn your new role and experience challenges moving up the learning curve – maybe a student you’ve been counseling leaves the program – you may become a “disillusioned learner” as your commitment wavers. You may ask, am I really cut out for this? But as you continue to grow in competence, you reaffirm your commitment and become a “capable but cautious performer”, ultimately becoming a “self-reliant achiever”. (In our context, let’s acknowledge we’re still God-reliant achievers…) The leader’s role with Situational Leadership is to first “diagnose” which development level applies to the person. Secondly they demonstrate “flexibility” in adjusting their leadership style to that development level. For an enthusiastic beginner, it’s ok to be “directive” in your leadership – the person is new, they need to know what to do and how to do it. For a disillusioned learner the leader shifts to a “coaching” style – asking great questions while still providing direction to get the staff member over this hump. As the staff becomes a capable but cautious performer they need a “supportive” leadership style – they can do the job, they just need to be affirmed. Finally, the leader can “delegate” to the self-reliant achiever – empowering them and releasing them to flourish in their role. After diagnosis and flexibility in leadership style, the third skill of a situational leader is “partnering for performance” – working with the staff member to identify goals and a plan for on-going development. As a leader, when you create a culture that intentionally develops people and learn the skills to do this well, you’ll retain great people, your team will flourish, and students will be well served. And, if you are a staff member, guess what? These same situational leadership principles apply as you disciple students – think about how they go through these development levels in the program and how you adjust your approach accordingly… This month, read one of the Gospels with these principles of development in mind, how was Jesus a situational leader?

Article Contributed by: Karissa Corpeny, Director of Corporate Training

References:

The Servant Leader” – Blanchard & Hodges

Leading at a Higher Level” – Blanchard