Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interruptions

I was recently in a roundtable discussion with other executive pastor types, and one of the topics of discussion was “how can we get our work done with all the interruptions from staff and other people?” The questions seemed to be about time management, but I think it raises a deeper question: What priority do we give to the people who report to us?

Let me offer a quick disclaimer. I know that people (some in particular) will consume all of our time if we let them. They’ll ask for constant affirmation or hand-holding, or they’ll want to spend 2 hours debating whether it’s better to use 8 oz or 12 oz cups for coffee on Sunday mornings. We must be wise in establishing boundaries to keep these individuals from monopolizing our time.

But I should also offer an honest confession. I’m pretty task-oriented, as are some of you, and I can always find a legitimate reason to put people off until tomorrow. Sure, I’ll meet to talk about the immediate ministry issues – reviewing plans for a fall festival, brainstorming a new communication strategy. In reality, these meetings aren’t about people, they’re just additional tasks on my list. If I’m not careful, the part that gets lost is listening to their hearts, talking about their future, helping them develop more fully as leaders, asking about the state of their marriages and their souls.

I made the time for this blog because it was on my “to do” list. Now I need to clear some space and invite some value-added interruptions.

3 comments:

DRK said...

As a second-chair leader, I find that the most challenging balancing act that I do every day is maintaining the people/task balance. I believe that an essential characteristic of a good second-chair leader is "availability."

Bill said...

what do you do when there are certain things you must do in your role of executive pastor?

Mike Bonem said...

Bill - we all have "certain things" we must do. The trick is to make sure that this doesn't squeeze out the time for people. I also find that I'm constantly asking the question, "am I the only one who can do this?" If so, then I put it on the task list and get it done. If not, I try to hand it off to someone else.