Do you often times feel overwhelmed and wonder how you will get it all done? When you find yourself in this space, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy behaviors that sabotage your leadership.
Let’s look at four common ways you can unintentionally sabotage yourself.
Sabotage your leadership by: Doing it alone.
Do you ever feel like it is all up to you? That people are looking to you to have all the answers? As leaders it is common to feel this internal pressure of needing to have it all together and have all the answers. You know you don’t and yet find yourself wrestling with this internal tension.
When you lead a ministry, people are looking to you for guidance, to solve problems, and sometimes to have the next big idea that will solve all the ministries problems. This is a lot of pressure. And if you are not careful, the weight of it all can wear you down and cause you to isolate yourself. You can quickly adopt the idea that it is all up to you. Intellectually, you know this isn’t true. That you can’t do it well alone. And yet, it is easy to find yourself doing just that. You may find yourself thinking, “I’m the only one who can do this right” or “They pay me, so it’s my job to do this.” Your job isn’t to do the children’s or youth ministry. Your job is to lead the church in doing children’s or youth ministry.
Sabotage your leadership by: Letting your ego get too big.
Do you find yourself thinking your ideas are better? Of course, you don’t say that out loud, but do you think it? When someone comes to you with an idea, do you find yourself quickly dismissing it, because it doesn’t fit with your way of thinking? Do you find yourself eager to move on your own idea, and slow to get input from others? If so, these could indicate your ego is in the driver’s seat and may be sabotaging your leadership.
Only leaning on your own ideas is dangerous.
When you are working on a new idea, gather a small group of people to brainstorm and dream with you. Be prepared to listen objectively. Chances are you have some emotional attachments to this idea. Having self-awareness around this will enable you to listen without being defensive.
Involving others will help you share the load and responsibility of moving the ministry forward. This will not only speak value over those in the conversation, it will allow them to take ownership of the process and results.
Sabotage your leadership by: Thinking more about what you want FROM people versus what you want FOR them.
This often times happens when you are feeling desperate for more help. If you are struggling with recruiting adults to partner with you in ministry, you may want to ask- “do people feel like I am more interested in what they can do for me versus what I want for them.” Even adults are looking for a place where they matter and belong.
Before you approach someone about serving in the ministry, spend time with them with no agenda. Care about them first. Then as you get to know them, if you think they are still a good fit, invite them to be a part of the work God is doing in the lives of those in the ministry. Speak with them about the value you see they can bring to the ministry and how their talents are an asset to the mission.
Sabotage your leadership by: Not leaving margin for learning.
When things get busy, often the first things to go is your personal time connecting with God and making time to grow your leadership. One of the best things you can do for those you lead is investing in your own leadership. This is an important gift to give yourself! It is also vitally important for your own spiritual, emotional, and relational health.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to access this: 1. Outside of ministry, when was the last time you felt inspired by being in God’ presence? 2. Where is God challenging you to grow right now? 3. What new muscles are you developing in your own leadership?
If you are looking for a supportive community that will encourage you, get to know you, and challenge you to grow, the Youth Ministry Institute has a Professional Certification for Children and Youth Ministers. This Certification Program will give you the tools you need to succeed in ministry. We believe in you and the important work you do! We’d be honored to walk alongside you in your leadership journey.
Kirsten Knox is the Executive Director of Youth Ministry Institute. Kirsten was part of the second class to complete the Youth Ministry Institute two-year coaching and training class in 2009. She has since been a coach on multiple occasions. Kirsten Knox is married and a graduate of Asbury University with a degree in youth ministry. She began working in youth ministry in 2000, serving Pasadena Community United Methodist Church for a decade and still ministers to young people at Radius Church in St. Petersburg, FL. Click the social links below to engage with Kirsten.