This is the fourth and final post in this series on leadership do’s and don’ts. Read parts one, two, and three. These were developed from a meeting with all generations of women’s ministry leaders this past spring.
Today I will share what our leaders listed as leadership don’ts — for all generations of leaders.
Don’ts for All Leaders
- Don’t get caught up in debating what’s not important or die on every hill. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s easy to make a mountain out of way too many molehills. Many are just not worth the time we waste on them. Discern which ones are.
- Don’t negate the older leader or the younger leader. Both are essential to growing ministry that lasts and moves into the future. Don’t talk down to others. Every woman has a something to contribute whether she is the newest or youngest leader or the most seasoned of leaders.
- Don’t always try to control everything. If you feel you must, ask yourself, “What’s going on in my own heart?” Avoid micromanaging because it is a failure to delegate or entrust leadership to others.
- Don’t expect your results from another person. Keep in mind that God can speak to each leader in different ways and give them various ways of serving. Don’t be critical. We will never get it all right so do not expect perfection. (And that’s coming from a near perfectionist who has learned it doesn’t have to be perfect to be excellent.)
- Don’t pass up opportunities to compliment. Encouragement is important so that women understand their value to your team and the ministry.
- Don’t give up serving. Sometimes we give up just as something is about to happen!
- Don’t carry a burden that is not yours to carry. Someone once said that an area of concern and an area of responsibility are not the same thing. Ask God to clearly show you the difference.
- Don’t know everything. Know your stuff without being a know-it-all.
- Don’t use the same people over and over. That limits your sphere of reach to more women who may want and who certainly need to be nurtured as leaders.
- Don’t forget the lost in your ministry. Always look to see who needs to be reached and how best to reach them.
- Don’t let tradition get in the way of God. Someone also said, “When tradition gets in the way of the movement of God, it becomes an idol.”
- Don’t judge others. That’s God’s job. We can love, learn from, and pray for women we are concerned about. Never assume. Often our “assumptions” are not correct. Seek to clarify and see from the other person’s perspective.
- Don’t answer difficult emails right away. This is such good advice. You cannot take back what you’ve sent. First think and pray through your response. You might even ask the advice of others if appropriate. Read your response through several times before hitting send.
- Don’t bulldoze or give up when you get push back. Often others just need to understand the situation better. Sometimes that push back is what is needed to fine-tune an area of ministry.
- Don’t think you’re the only one who can do the leading. Actually God doesn’t need any of us, but He graciously “lets” us serve Him.
- Don’t forget your family. They are your No. 1 ministry. Include them in areas you oversee whenever possible. Ask them to pray as you serve.
- Don’t neglect yourself. You, too, need ministry! Take the Sabbath when possible or take the day after when you can’t! Rest, breathe, spend unhurried time with Christ, and sleep. Allow others to pour into you. Not only does God call us to serve in ministry, He gives us others who minister to us. Allow them that privilege and joy.
Now, let’s look at a few leadership don’ts that are specific to older or younger leaders.
Don’ts for Younger Leaders
First, let’s address the younger leader.
- Don’t work around leadership. Work with them. You will never regret building unity rather than just walking away and doing it your way.
- Don’t try to change things too fast. Remember that many women need time to process change. Keep some things in place even as you make necessary adjustments in ministry.
Don’ts for Seasoned Leaders
- Finally, these are addressed to the more seasoned leaders.
- Don’t assume things that have worked for a long time still do. Evaluate to make sure lives are still being impacted by the established ways of doing ministry.
- Don’t think someone is too young. Scripture tells us not to discount that younger person. They too have something God wants them to contribute.
- Don’t hold on too tight or let go completely. There is such a fine balance between the two! Pray and ask God to make you aware of when to let go and when to hold on.
This concludes our series on leadership dos and don’ts. And this is the last of the notes from our intergenerational leadership dialogues from last spring. I hope what we learned from that time and shared has been helpful to you. Our desire is to equip you and also learn from you as a women’s ministry leader. Let us know what you would add to our lists.