What do leaders do? There are many things they can do but there are three things that they must do if they are going to maximize the effectiveness of their organization. These three are non-negotiables.
One: Leaders provide maximum clarity around mission, guiding principles, central ministry focus and culture
Leaders must provide clarity about what the ministry stands for, what its mission is, how it will operate (guiding principles), what it must concentrate on (central ministry focus) and the culture of the organization.
Staff, donors, constituents and congregations all want to know where we are going, how we are going to get there, what we are about and they want a mission that is so compelling that they can give their energies, their resources and their best efforts. General clarity leads to general commitment. High clarity brings high commitment. The more clarity a leader provides the more commitment they will have from others.
Two, leaders ensure that mission is accomplished.
Leaders care about ministry results. They focus on ministry results and they hold their staff accountable for ministry results. Leaders distinguish between activity and results. They do not confuse activity with results and help staff understand that their activity must be focused in ways that are most likely to bring results. Everyone is busy but not everyone sees real results.
Staff pay attention to what their leaders pay attention to. If leaders are always focused on ministry results they will be too. If leaders don't focus on ministry results staff will not either. Leaders set the tone for the seriousness with which staff take actual missional effectiveness.
Three, leaders intentionally create an organizational culture that will allow it to best live out its clarity (one) and achieve missional results (two).
Most leaders underestimate the power of culture and pay too little attention to it. One can have the highest clarity and deepest commitment to missional effectiveness but have a culture that is unhealthy and which does not encourage healthy relationships, collaboration, robust dialogue, innovation and personal development. Healthy culture is critical to missional effectiveness and leaders are ultimately responsibility for that culture.
If you are interested in learning more about these three responsibilities of leaders, the book Leading from the Sandbox deals with these issues extensively.