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September 15, 2009

Great Relational Leaders

What they do and what they don’t do


Lot’s of great leadership nuggets can be found at I was reviewing some archived material there recently and came across a list of relational leadership traits to avoid, put together by Dan Reeves. I’ve adapted Dan’s list a bit and repurposed it as a list of relational characteristics that describe great small-group leaders.

Great relational small-group leaders...

  • Are not stingy with their praise of others.

  • Confidently affirm those things they agree with or believe, while being honest and humble about their own failures.

  • Are willing to initiate healthy mentoring conversations about things that make them concerned.

  • Do not tend to jump immediately to negative conclusions when interpreting people’s actions.

  • Do not find it easy to understand people’s motivations without asking them.

  • Prefer first-hand information rather than second-hand information.

  • Give the benefit of the doubt.

  • Do not tend to want all permissions run through them.

  • Are very comfortable with independent thinkers.

  • Do not tend to be locked into the safety of rules, regulations, and organizational efficiency.

  • Tend to see what can go right with an idea, rather than what might go wrong.

  • Focus more on mission than maintenance.

  • Are more concerned about people than process.

  • Are able to use and release leaders with skills, knowledge and abilities different from or better than their own.

  • Avoid using the legitimacy of their power and control as an excuse to solve problems and make decisions in isolation.

  • Are not insecure.

Do you agree with this list? What relational characteristics have I missed?

posted by Dan Lentz at 1:01 PM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

September 9, 2009

GPS Leadership

When it comes to making decisions in your small group, timing is everthing.


I love my GPS. Whenever I drive somewhere new, a sophisticated female voice with a British accent kindly directs my route, telling me where to turn and whether to turn left or right. She doesn't tell me when to turn, though. Pulling up to a stop light and waiting until the coast is clear is my responsibility.

I am responsible for knowing the optimal time to turn the corner—that is, when I can turn without getting nailed by a semi. If I turn at the wrong time, the results will be devastating and everyone in the vehicle will be injured.

That's because timing is everything.

Timing is important for small groups, too. Books and conferences can tell you what to do, but not when to do it. That means group leaders must accurately read the environment of their small groups in order to know when is the right time to make a change or start something new.

With that in mind, here are a few tips about timing when it comes to small-group leadership:

  • When leading a small group meeting, don't move forward with the study if someone has verbally attacked another group member. Acknowledge the intense emotions and deal with them before continuing.
  • If a household in your group has suffered a tragedy—loss of a job, death of a family member, and so on—the next meeting should be focused on ministering to the family rather than "doing the study."
  • Similarly, don't try to multiply your small group (or even suggest multiplication) if an individual or couple in the group is going through tough times or processing some great loss. These individuals need relational stability for a season.
  • Complete an agreed upon study before moving on to a different curriculum piece. You may sense that the present study isn't what you had hoped for, but if the group was involved in choosing the study, moving from it before completion will create silent discontent.

  • If a small group has spent a substantial amount of time on a ministry project in the last four weeks, be sure you have group consensus before involving the group in another ministry project soon thereafter.

Remember: timing is everthing.

posted by Sam O'Neal at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)