Leading When You Disagree

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There will be times as a technical leader when you have to lead your team in plan that you don’t necessarily agree with. No, I’m not talking about anything heretical here, but perhaps you have to enforce a volume limit you think is too low. Or maybe it’s a limitation on how to use moving lights. Or possibly moving backgrounds are verboten. Take your pick. While you might not like it, you have to lead your team in the implementation of these procedures. This can be tricky—but it’s not impossible.

I haven’t always been good at this (in fact I’m still growing in this arena). Several years ago, at another church, the leadership of the church decided to bring in an integrator that I disagreed with, and that caused me much consternation. I made the mistake of passive-aggressively complaining to my team, which got back to my boss and led to a series of meetings that I’ll be happy to never have to repeat. 

I learned a few things from that experience, and hopefully I’m a little wiser at this point. 

Remember Your Job

In times like those, it’s important to remember that your job is not to lead the church. Your job is to support the pastor’s vision—and when I say “pastor” I mean the leadership of the church. He (or they) will be judged on how they led the church; you will be judged on how you supported his (or their) leadership.

While you can certainly advocate (in private with your leaders) for your point of view, when it comes to leading your team, you need to stay positive and help them see how these “limitations” support the mission of the church. 

Complain Up, Not Down

It’s really tempting to vent your frustrations about a policy you disagree with to your team. Don’t do it! It’s completely toxic and will cause division in your church. If you have issues with the program, always complain up the chain of command, never down. You need to lead your team based on the direction you receive from your boss/pastor. Even when you don’t personally like it.

Few things will undermine your ministry as quickly as pitting your tech team against the leadership of the church. Wise pastors will root that out quickly, as well they should. I know people who have been fired for this. 

Do A Good Job

Often it can seem like these leadership-imposed limitations keep us from doing our jobs effectively. But that’s only based on one interpretation of doing a good job. In this case, I encourage you to lead your team well, build unity and deliver excellent results week after week regardless of the limitations.

This builds tremendous trust with your leadership. As you build this trust, you will have the opportunity to have a greater voice in the way the service is put together. You may even find that over time, some of those “limitations” get lifted as you work together.

I’ve found over the years that one big thing that separates the highly-respected, mature technical leaders from the rest is the ability to implement a policy they don’t agree with, and do it with grace and a positive attitude. This is one of the greatest tests you will come up against as a technical leader—and it’s a test you need to pass.

 

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