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Issue 23: What Do You Do When You Have A Person In The Wrong Position?

Feeding & Leading the Sheep

Every pastor eventually finds themselves with a person who is in the wrong role.

It could be someone in an elder role, a staff member, or a volunteer. The danger of having someone in the wrong role is the ministry suffers.

What do you do when you think you have someone in the wrong position? That’s the subject of this week’s Feeding & Leading the Sheep.

The C’s

Before we take action on someone who may not be a fit, we first need to diagnose the problem. Why are they not a fit? What are some of the reasons individuals don’t fit in their roles? There are 5C’s that help us think through that.

Character – They lack integrity or godly character to serve in their role. This is automatic removal.

Competency – They lack the skills and competencies needed to do the work expected of them. Sometimes people can be trained up to meet competency expectations, but often they can’t.

How does this happen? People often oversell their abilities. Other times, the job grows beyond their skillsets. The lack of competency can include hard skills (preaching, good writing, organizing teams, etc.) and soft skills (social awareness, time management, stress management, etc.).

Chemistry – They don’t match the organization or team culture. They struggle to fit in. This is one that makes longevity in a position very hard to achieve. Chemistry is vital for effective leadership.

Convictions – They don’t share the same beliefs and convictions. In a church, this is crucial. If someone holds a competing vision, that is di-vision (two visions).

Capacity – They aren’t growing with the church or organization. The role is outgrowing them.

These 5C’s are the most frequent reasons people are not a good fit in their role.

1 Actionable Tip

Take corrective action as soon as you recognize you have someone in the wrong role.

Corrective action may include a one-on-one discussion to address issues.

It could involve a plan for growth or change.

But sometimes it needs to include removal from this position. This is hard because we know there can be fallout when we remove a leader from a position. But leaving people in positions for which they are not a right fit is even worse.

Be clear with the individual about your assessment of their fit in the role they have. Remember that it is not only best for the church to help remedy the situation, but it is best for them. They (more than likely) sense the friction and struggle. If you and other leaders see it, then they probably feel it too. Address it with grace and help find a solution, even if that is removing them.

Last point…don’t beat yourself up. You’re not going to bat .1000 on positioning people in roles. I’ve had to let elders, staff, and volunteers go from their roles. It’s hard. But I have also put some of the most incredible people in positions to succeed. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong.

Lead, and when you need to course-correct, do it quickly.

Keep Developing As A Leader

1. 1-on-1 Pastor Mentoring. For those who want to get a more tailored coaching experience, this option helps you grow in church leadership skills and solving your church-specific challenges. Sign-up soon, limited spots.

2. Church Consulting. If your church needs revitalization and desires assistance in developing a vision and strategy for going forward, this option can be great for you. We not only help diagnosis issues but work with you to create a plan and coach you on execution.

3. Student Ministry Leader Lab. Join us in Nashville August 3-4th for coaching and practical help for leading an effective student ministry. Register here.