Leading From the Middle Part II

I recently had the opportunity to appear on The Pastor’s Life video blog to discuss the various nuances of leading from the second chair. I quickly realized that I had a lot to say about this subject based on my current position in a local church as well as 21 years in the military where everyone is second chair to someone.

There are many dynamics at work for a person leading from the middle. Direction, leadership style, desires, and personality come down from the top leader, while personnel issues, problems, tensions, questions, and various other factors float up toward the top leader. In the middle is a leader who is attempting to lead, manage, motivate, inspire, and stabilize from both directions. How does a leader in this position learn to lead with confidence and joy rather than hesitation and frustration? To answer that question, I have broken my comments into three parts relative to the relationship between the first and second leader. You can find Part I here. Today we look at Part II which discusses some differences that should exist between the first and second leaders.

Think Synergy: two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable.

Part II: Differences that are necessary

1. Personality – It’s easy to try and emulate someone that you respect and look up to. If you are a leader in the second chair, you need to understand that differences in personality compliment, strengthen and broaden the effect of your ministry. If you are the senior leader, you too should understand that having people around you that are not like you in personality will bring about a result that would otherwise not exist. People in your church or organization will be drawn to and relate to different personalities based on the fact that we are all different people. Don’t try to be like one another. Be yourselves.

2. Gift Set – Many leaders have similar gifts such as teaching, administration, and exhortation. However, the top two leaders in the church or organization need to have different gifts as well. There’s an old saying that says “if two of us are just alike one of us is unnecessary.” Having different gifts provides the ability to share responsibility and be more effective.

3. Strengths and Weaknesses – Like differences in gift mix, it is also necessary that our strengths and weaknesses vary. If we have the same strengths and weaknesses we will be lopsided. When we have strengths and weaknesses that are different, then we compliment one another. We are also able to maintain a healthy balance throughout the organization so that we’re not one-sided. This helps us to deal with blind spots that each of us has.

These are only three differences that are necessary to exist between the top two leaders. The bottom line here is that we do not want to duplicate ourselves. We want people around us that have differences that can be embraced and enhance our ministries to be more effective. Don’t see differences as struggles to overcome. Rather, see them as overall strengths that make us all better.

Keep REACHING FORWARD to God’s best in your ministry.

Feel free to share other differences that are necessary between leaders.

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