Because our own health as leaders spills out into those we lead a key indicator of a leader's health is the health of their staff. Is the staff culture healthy or toxic? Is it functional or dysfunctional? Are staff relatively happy and engaged or relatively unhappy and disengaged. If a leader has led for any length of time, the ethos and culture of their staff is a prime indicator of their own health.

I regularly talk to ministry staff members who describe toxic, fearful and unhappy staff cultures. What they often don't realize is that they are describing the dishealth of their leader. Church and ministry boards for the most part don't get this. They are all too willing to overlook unhealthy and toxic staff cultures as if all is well. The truth is it is not all well. Nor is the senior leader.

Staff cultures almost always reflect the health of the leader. This is why it is critical to have ways to ascertain the relative health of staff members and not to simply take the word of the leader. Controlling leaders control their staff. Dysfunctional leaders create dysfunction on their staff. Insecure leaders shut down candid discussion on their staff. Driven leaders create staff cultures where staff member always feel inadequate -  because their leader does. Grace filled leaders create cultures of grace and empowering leaders create cultures of trust and release people to use their gifting and intellectual capital. Staff cultures almost always reflect the health of dishealth of the leader.

This also means that where staff cultures are unhealthy, boards ought to pay close attention. Of course it presupposes that boards have a desire and way to monitor the health of the staff. Many don't. 

Every board ought to have a way to keep its finger on the health of staff because in doing so they not only protect the staff where necessary but they also get a read on the health of their leader. Good leaders create healthy staff cultures of empowerment, grace, candid conversation and trust. Unhealthy leaders create cultures of mistrust, control, lack of clarity and bureaucracy. There is a big difference. 

All of T.J. Addington's books including his latest, Deep Influence,  are available from the author for the lowest prices and a $2.00 per book discount on orders of ten or more.
  • Jan 31, 2015
  • Category: News
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