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Monday, October 3, 2011

Worship Leaders, Control Freaks, and Other Leaders

Planning services, rehearsing music, checking on set ups, checking sound and lights, – the list of what those that lead worship have to do could go on and on. Some of these activities are things that are our primary responsibility, while others are things that have been absorbed for lack of someone else to do them and they end up on our plate. Most of these deal with working with other people. How we deal with those who work with us in all these tasks reflects how effective of a leader we are.

There are four types I would like to mention: the Micro Manager, the Avoider, the Whatever, and the Enabler.

The Micro Manager is a well-known leader type that must have his or her hand in every aspect of every part of the ministry. Many times this person has talent in several areas and concludes that it is much easier to “do it yourself” or feels that he or she must change something on every plan before a final stamp of approval can be given. It is not unusual for this person to go back and move microphone stands two or three inches, run back to the sound board and “tweak” EQ s, even though there is someone operating the equipment. Suggestions may be received, but only after personal additions have been made. Success is defined in terms of “how well everything is controlled,” more than how well Christ’s character and nature is lived out. Sometimes this person has a fear failure or a fear of being replaced by someone else might be able to do the job better. This person lives with the frustration of having to work with “so many incapable people,” who would not function properly without supervision. Confrontation is not an issue, since the Micro Manager knows he or she has the final word. Those that work under this type of leader are rarely encouraged for a job well done, knowing that whatever they do, there will always be “just one more thing” that has to be added before it is acceptable.

Another type of controller is more subtle: the Avoider. The Avoider controls by not making decisions, or waiting for things to “take care of themselves.” While this might seem on the surface as the opposite of the Micro Manager, it is really just another way to control what is going on. If specific decisions have to be made, the Avoider will put off making the final decision until it is too late to do anything thing else, or nothing else can be done, because none could act without the approval of the person in authority. The Avoider is a professional procrastinator, is almost always late in arrivals, and puts off getting the music charts to the musicians in time, contacting necessary people, etc. The Micro Manager controls by over making sure that every single detail is to his or her specifications. The Avoider controls through default. Confrontation is avoided or ignored at all costs. Those that work under the Avoider are frustrated because they often see what could have been done if only given advance notice or the authority to complete task given the necessary time.

The Whatever leader
is really no leader at all. “What ever” sound comes out is fine, after all this is just church and the people here are not really informed on what the best songs or how they are supposed to sound. There is no sense of excellence in offering the best one has to offer, and this person is generally a “good old boy [or girl]” that gets along with most everyone. Not surprisingly, this type of leader rarely stays anywhere for any length of time.

The Enabler
is just that. This type of leader empowers those that he or she works with both the skill to accomplish the task in an effective manner and gives the authority to carry out their task without having to go back and seek permission for minor modifications. The Enabler has planned ahead and knows what pitfalls to avoid and had made alternative plans in case everything starts to unwind. The Enabler is not threatened with the success of others, but rather rejoices when a member of the team does well, because he or she knows “it’s not really about me,” but about giving bringing glory to God. It is a joy to work with the Enabler, since ideas are listened, and the best plan is carried forward, whether or not it was the Enabler’s or not. The Enabler is also an encourager for those that are having difficulty accomplishing their tasks. The group knows they will not be embarrassed because the Enabler will not let them go on to present a song or program that is not ready or sounds bad.

One sign of a good leader is willingness to hear criticism and not issue revenge or “payback.” Sometimes those under us do not feel the liberty to share these blind spots for fear of reprisal, resulting in poor morale and the group not performing to its most effective manner. One goal all worship leaders need to embrace is that of continually working to improve our leadership skills for the honor and glory of God.

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