Who Do I Talk To About Quitting?

A Blog Post by Brian Miller

 

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I went out for Little League Football. I’m sure my older brothers played football, but they were much older and weren’t playing when my turn came. My dad was never overly involved in my sports so that left mom to prepare me for football.

It was my introduction to the jock strap. I remember asking mom which way it went. Something was going to be hanging out either way. Awkward. Especially having to figure this out with your mom. Then we figured out the shoulder pads. Nobody told me I should wear a T-shirt underneath the pads so that they wouldn’t rub me raw. Mom didn’t know that.

At that first (and last) practice, the only thing I remember is lining up and hitting each other. Since I was the biggest fifth grader, they lined me up against the biggest sixth grader, Byron. Byron was big. Byron had a wicked smile on his face as he lined up against me. Hike! Boom! I had no idea whether I was on offense or defense. It didn’t matter. Byron ran over me either way.

When I got home, my underarms were raw from the shoulder pad straps rubbing me raw. My body was sore from Byron rolling over me several times. I had no idea why anyone would enjoy playing football. I didn’t want to go back.

I told my mom I wanted to quit. She said I had to talk to dad. Weird that I didn’t have to talk dad about the jock strap, but I had to talk to dad about quitting.

Dad was changing the oil in the combine (we were farmers) or something equally ambitious. I found him and said, “I want to quit football. Mom said I had to ask you.”

He stopped what he was doing and told me this:

“You can quit football, but don’t ever quit anything else ever again.”

Not terrible advice. Not great either. When I was a senior in high school, and my high school basketball coach was proving to be a basket case, dad pulled me aside and told me that I could quit. I didn’t. He had instilled it in me at an impressionable age. But let me assure you there is a time to quit.

Getting the Wrong People Off the Bus Without Throwing Them Under the Bus

A Blog Post by Bill Copper

If you haven’t faced this challenge as a leader yet…just hold on – you will. In our work with leaders and teams of organizations, we find this to be one of the most difficult things for a leader to do – perhaps especially in ministry organizations.

What am I talking about? Firing a staff member!

I bet many of you cringed just reading those words. None of us like to make a decision to remove someone from our staff or team – but it is an inevitable part of being a good leader for your organization.

Why is it so difficult?

I guess my first response to that will sound a bit self-serving…”it’s because we CARE about other people.” Those of you serving in a ministry context often offer a similar response… “It’s not the Christian thing to do.” Well…in a word…HOGWASH!

Putting off or avoiding removing a staff member from your team is not the most caring, nor Christian thing we can do…not for them, nor for the organization.

When we fail to deal with an employee who needs to be terminated from their position on the team, we are placing her/his immediate needs above those of the rest of the team and the organization. We’ve seen this over and over….a pastor or other organizational leader will tolerate substandard or destructive behavior from a staff person because they don’t want to think about the immediate pain that may be felt by the individual (and their family).

Please, please hear this:

You have a greater responsibility to the rest of the team and organization than you do to the individual staff member who needs to go.

Your failure to deal with a staff person who needs to be removed from the team is having a much greater negative affect on the rest of the team than you are admitting.

Most of you reading this can think of a time when you wish a leader would have dealt with a troublesome staff person…and YOUR staff may be wishing the same about you.

So…how do we overcome this inclination to hold on to people long after their usefulness has run out in their current role? How do we remove someone from our team with our integrity intact? How do we get the wrong people off the bus….without throwing them under the bus?

Let’s start with a clear understanding of your role as the leader.

Why We Need to Turn Down the Volume on Leadership

leadership-volumeRecently I’ve had a major change of heart when it comes to leadership.

This change of heart certainly qualifies as a “major” because practically my entire career has been built around leadership.  The first company I helped start was called Smart Leadership. I was a “Leadership Consultant” for a major denomination.  I’ve attended leadership conferences, read leadership books, listened to leadership podcasts and even the first book I wrote had “Leaders” in the title. I’ve coached leaders and put myself out there as a leadership coach.  I’ve quoted and tried to live John Maxwell’s mantra that “everything rises or falls on leadership.”   In other words, I’ve been all in when it comes to leadership.  But now I’m getting out. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not abandoning leadership; I’m just moving it to its proper spot in the order of things.

My conversion away from “leadership first” started a few months ago when I and several other community leaders were discussing what we could do to make our community better.  All of us were singing loud and proud from the “leadership first” songbook.  We said things like, “Our city needs strong leaders,” and “We need to grow leaders in every corner of the community,” and “We should teach leadership in our schools,” and “Our first priority needs to be leadership.”  I was all in, until I wasn’t. In a flash, I wondered, “To what end is all this leadership going to lead?”

It was in that moment I realized something maybe you’ve known all along: leadership is of instrumental value, not intrinsic value.