Leadership Development is Crucial to Grow a Church | By Tim Elmore

Make a plan to be ready for the coming collision between healthy boundaries and healthy teamwork. These six practical suggestions aid leadership training to foster maturity and church growth.

I see a problem today more often than I’ve seen it in the past. It is a collision between mindsets, both of which are essential. They are illustrated in the following story.

Several faculty and staff members were asked to participate in a special project at their school. They were to plan a celebration of the decrease in COVID-19 infections on the campus. The school had experienced no infections (in students or staff) for the entire semester. The administration felt this milestone should be rewarded with a party and some prizes. Initially, everyone involved agreed with great excitement to help make this happen.

One week before the celebration, however, the wheels came off the wagon.

Three of the staff members who had significant responsibilities withdrew from participation. They dropped the ball and failed to follow through on what they’d committed to doing for the rest of the team.

When the others asked why they all preached the same sermon of “I’ve got to stick to my boundaries,” they went on to say that their mental health had to be priority one and doing too much on this project would compromise their mental health. Drop the mic.

There was nothing anyone could say in rebuttal.  After all, don’t we want everyone to stay well?

Herein lies the collision I mentioned earlier.

A Collision Between Healthy Boundaries and Healthy Teamwork

When someone plays the boundaries card, it is a trump card. What can anyone say to a person who declares they need to guard their time and mental health?

Today, we all believe in boundaries. Psychologist Henry Cloud even wrote a book on it.

On the other hand, those who walked away from the team left others shorthanded, requiring extra work to pull off the project. One group had made a commitment and then dropped it. The other group violated their own set of boundaries to fulfill it.

Needless to say, while the team smiled and relieved the quitters of any guilty feelings, those who stayed and made extra sacrifices resented the others who had quit.

So, how do we navigate this dilemma? Both boundaries and sacrifices are noble.

We are living in strange times. People are quitting jobs at an alarming rate. Often, it is the right thing to do. The pandemic forced many organizations to lay off millions of employees and now that the need for workers has increased, many organizations have fewer workers attempting to complete the same amount of work.

As millions of team members are requested to make special sacrifices, it becomes a race to see who can erect boundaries first. Or they just quit.

In a sense, quitting is another kind of boundary. I don’t blame anyone for the problem, but it is a problem.

Neither extreme is healthy. You don’t want to make sacrifices to the detriment of your own health, family, and finances; but you also don’t want to erect boundaries that require everyone else to make a sacrifice while you don’t.

Below are six ideas you can implement with others to balance the need to sacrifice with the need for boundaries.

Navigating the Strange Time in Which We Live

1. Plan ahead. Determine your limits up front if you can.

You can prevent some of this problem by preparing for it. Once you know your boundaries and you set them, you can give yourself fully to your commitment.

2. Have people communicate their boundaries ahead of time.

A great rule of thumb is “not equal contribution, but equal sacrifice.” Some will do more than others, but everyone should declare boundaries and capabilities.

3. Recognize that any valuable endeavor will require sacrifices.

We must always remember that history is full of people who made stunning sacrifices for the betterment of a worthy cause. Talk about how this is normal.

4. When at your limits, invite others into the problem-solving process.

When you can do no more, don’t impose your boundaries, expose them. Invite others into the process of helping you finish well but share the load.

5. Remember that balance doesn’t mean “equal,” it means “ebb and flow.”

A balanced life is a myth if you feel it means equally distributing your effort all the time. Great projects require big investments, followed by a time of withdrawal.

6. Consistently clarify what is not your job and what is your job.

This may be most important. Check out the two columns below the next time you sign up for an extra project. It will enable you to sacrifice and keep boundaries:

Tim Elmore - This My Job Not My Job



To know more about Tim Elmore, check out Growing Leaders. To order his new book, visit: NewDiversityBook.com. This article originally appeared here.

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