I've yet to run into a church leader that didn't have a long list of things he wanted to accomplish. Typically, there's more work to do than people or money to complete within the timeframe you'd like. We have to be as efficient as possible without sacrificing excellence or relationships. One not-so-obvious way to achieve that goal is to make sure your team members know exactly what's expected of them.
Let's think about this for a minute: If your team members are unclear about what they're responsible for, they'll either assume they don't have responsibility for areas you intended them to own or they'll take over too many things and encroach on someone else's authority. A lack of clear expectations can cause misunderstandings and frustration between team members and between you and your team. You have one idea of what success looks like and they have another.
They may be perfectly willing and able to meet your expectations, but they're shooting aimlessly without a target.
Here are three common mistakes that can undermine your team’s efforts.
#1: Failing to Create Clear Expectations
What's the vision of your church leadership? Where are you headed as a congregation? How does each staff member contribute to achieving that goal? Aren't you more motivated and able to discern what you should be working on next more efficiently when you know how your efforts contribute to the vision? Your team members are no different. Connect the dots for them from their weekly responsibilities to the vision of your church.
#2: Not Clearly Defining a Staffer’s Roles and Boundaries
Do you have an ambitious, driven team member who means well but keeps going out a bit too far afield? If you've never clearly defined her role and communicated that to her, she may not know why you think she's off-track. She might even feel overworked but doesn't realize she's taking on more tasks than you ever intended. Define her role, get her feedback, and settle in on boundaries that will free up both parties.
#3: A Lack of Documenting Expectations
Does each team member understand what success looks like for his role? Are your team members ever surprised during a performance evaluation? If he doesn't know what you expect or how you measure success, how can he have a decent chance at meeting (or exceeding) your expectations? Don't let a performance discussion be the first time he learns where the end zone is located.
Developing, documenting, and communicating role expectations may not be your favorite ministry task. However, it is part of your responsibility as a leader to make sure your team knows what you expect and how they can contribute to the vision. Set your team, and your church, up to win by clearly communicating expectations. This effort can reduce tension, increase productivity, and bring a greater sense of purpose to your team. It's worth the time and effort to drive for clarity whenever possible.