One of the worst leadership styles to operate in is the discourager. This is the leader that will make people under him feel hopeless. This leader saps faith and energy out of anyone he comes in contact with. As leaders, we need to evaluate our leadership style to see if any of these discourager characteristics have come into our ministry.
Leadership Style: The Discourager
Show that you care. One of the most discouraging things a leader can do is to ignore the workers under her as if what they are doing doesn’t matter. Depending on how many workers you have, you may not be able to develop a close relationship with all of them. But you can show you care.
Remember their prayer requests and what is going on in their lives. Mark these things down in your cell phone notes if you have to. When you see them, ask them questions about these things. This shows them you listen and care.
Also ask them questions about the ministry projects you’ve given them. If you give them a project and never mention it again, it shows you don’t think what you’ve given them to do is an important component of your ministry. Nobody likes to feel they’re only doing busy work that is unimportant.
Point out what they’ve done right. Every leader has to refocus their workers from time to time and point out what they need to do better. But if that’s all you ever do, your workers will feel like they never do anything right. Here’s some ways to affirm your workers.
Every time you can, be specific about something you appreciate about those under you or mention something they’ve done right.
When you must correct, sandwich that correction with affirmations. For instance say something like this. “Betty, I appreciate how many hours you’ve devoted for preparing to teach. One thing I need to mention is remember to be a half hour early every Sunday so you can set up. If you come at the last minute, you aren’t able to interact with the children before class and they get out of control before you even start. You’re one of the best teachers I have, so I want you to do well.”
Encourage workers when they have new ideas. Instead of telling them why something won’t work, brainstorm with them about how to fix the problems that might not make it work. If you must nix an idea, don’t do it right away. Suggest you both pray about it. The worker might decide it won’t work anyway. If not, tell them you appreciate their input, but this is not the direction you’re going and why.
Don’t overload your workers. Consider them as people not as steps in your overall plan. Find out what is going on in their lives. Some of your workers may need to lesson their load at times because of issues in their personal life. Others might not know how to say no to you. Be sensitive to when your workers are doing too much.
Encourage, compliment, and pray for your workers often.