COVID Leadership Lesson #2
During the global pandemic, Dr. Carson Pue has been mentoring Christian leaders around the globe. In doing so, he has made some observations.
These are their stories.
Ministry organizations I am mentoring and coaching are now working with fewer people on staff. Staff members are absent due to sickness – either themselves or loved ones for whom they are caring. Others have left because they are caring for children home from school or due to furloughs or layoffs caused by the impact of closures and reduced revenue.
My friend Bob Kuhn, in conversation the other day, said the challenge ahead is discerning how to maintain the mission while modifying the methods. Not only a catchy phrase, but Bob also speaks wisely about the role of leaders in organizations and businesses today. In the book Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner considers “fewer things done better” as the most powerful tool for effective leadership. Essentialism, written in 2014, is perhaps the exact theme needed in 2020.
When asked by leaders how they are supposed to cope with all the reductions they are experiencing, I propose some questions to help think through what is essential, and how to maintain the mission with fewer paid staff and reduced financial resources.
Questions Leaders Can Ask
- What are the essential services we offer? Can we limit any other services or activities and put more resources into our essentials?
- With fewer staff, you cannot expect to do all you have done before COVID-19. Can we reduce the number of service hours we are open?
- Do you have any area of your organization where only one person knows how to do a critical part of your work or ministry? If a crucial member of the team became ill or indisposed, is anyone cross-trained to keep the organization going?
- Do you have any former staff or volunteers whom you might call on to ask for help during the pandemic?
- Is there some new service, resource or product that you might be able to retool with fewer workers and generate new revenue?
- What about you? If you were to become ill, have you identified who could make critical decisions in your absence?
I have been very encouraged by leaders who are not trying to be heroes, and who are inviting team members into leadership roles during this time. I think in years to come we will look back and realize how this Covid-19 season re-calibrated teams and revealed previously unrecognized strengths within them.
Keep your heart up,