issue 11 how to build leadership capital

Issue #11: How to Build Leadership Capital

Faithful & Fruitful Pastoring

In my last Twitter post, I outlined six reasons why it takes years to gain leadership capital (trust). When you’re hired as the leader of a ministry, you might have the title, but you don’t have the trust. That takes time, and here’s why.

  1. They don’t know you yet.
  2. They’ve seen leaders come and go.
  3. They’re guarding themselves.
  4. Trust is built over time.
  5. They haven’t seen you tested yet.
  6. Your methods and philosophies haven’t been established or proven.

These are major obstacles to gaining the capital you need to be an effective leader. But, while, trust is best built over time, there are things you can do to begin building the trust of your people.

Here are five things to help build trust.

  1. Plan to stay for the long term. People can tell if you don’t plan to be there long. I remember when we transitioned from renting to buying a home. It made a statement to our people. He’s here to stay.
  2. Look for easy wins and celebrate. People don’t follow plans. They follow proven leaders. Early on in your ministry, look for ways you can celebrate some low hanging fruit. Show the people you’re being effective. Celebrate these wins with the church.
  3. Spend time with people. Spend lots of time with them. The more time you spend with people, the more relationship equity you will build. If they only see you on Sunday, trust will take a long time. But if you’re in their homes and they are in yours, you will speed up building their trust.
  4. Handle your first conflicts well. It’s crucial that you handle early conflicts well. This will show them what kind of leader you are. If you blow up or pout because you didn’t get your way, say goodbye to trust. But if you remain firm, kind, and respectable, your people will see that and won’t be able to help but respect you.
  5. Don’t make any major changes early. They’re waiting for you to change the church they love. They don’t believe you’re there to pastor them. You’re there to make this into the church you want. Prove them wrong. Show them you love the church just as it is by not making changes early on. This doesn’t mean you won’t later. But when later comes, you will have more trust.

Trust is your greatest commodity in leadership. It takes a lifetime to build and only a moment to lose.

Focus on building and keeping the
trust of your people
and your ministry will thrive.
Jeopardize it or think you have it too early, and you’re bound for disaster.

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