I have been reading a book about Micromanagement in the workplace and thinking a lot about the definition of it, what bothers me about it, etc. Then a thought came to mind. Worship leaders and pastors. Often times church leaders get into a position, they tend to become micro-managers.
I do believe that in many or most cases leaders in church were selected (by God) for a reason and put in their position. However, I also know that these leaders are not perfect people and they make mistakes as they are just human too. This might include micromanaging your teams. This would be where the leader does not share or delegate responsibility makes all decisions without consulting the team. Maybe the leader finds it necessary that the band should not help in any leadership decisions such as song selection. They may go so far as to tell other musicians how to play each and every note eliminating any creative thinking on their part and even not letting the Holy Spirit be an influence as the music is just a "production".
Leaders might see this as "bucking authority" or "not being flexible or trainable", but after reading the book, I have been reading about micromanagers, I see a lot of this happening in churches as well.
For those leaders, to put things in perspective, maybe you have a senior pastor who always has the say in everything you do including songs, etc. It may be the standard procedure of your church that this be the case. Should it be that way?
Some good thoughts to chew on, Dan. I've been thinking lately about having the team help more with song selection, yet find myself hesitant to do so. It's hard enough to get them to show up consistantly for practice (and I'm generalizing). But maybe that's a symptom of not sharing ownership...
The article above talks where Micromanagement is necessary at times, however, most of the examples mention God or Jesus as the micromanager. Well, yes, if you are God and perfect and know infinitely way more than anyone, then yes, you have the right to do so....that's my take on it. Also, I see a distinct difference between being a good leader and the need for great leadership vs. being a micromanager. Obviously too, some members under your leadership may be too immature requiring direction. When I mention micromanagement being a bad thing, I mean the way it is mentioned in Exodus 18. When you have competent members of your team, but don't delegate or trust them to make the right choices or feel the need to keep all decisions and tasks to yourself.
A good leader may have to start off by running everything themselves, but if they are wise they will intentionally look for ways to train those under them and give them more responsibility as time goes by. Depending on your people, that can take a short time or a long time.
Poor leaders generally fall into two categories. The first kind keep doing everything themselves because it's easier, and they're so focused on "getting the job done" that they honestly don't think about delegating.
The second kind are worse. They are afraid of someone taking their place, so they purposely keep others down, and intentionally make themselves the centre of the universe. We've all heard tales of pastors who make life difficult for the worship leader or youth/associate pastor who starts to show signs of being a better preacher then they are...scary stuff.
It's hard to strike the proper balance between proper leadership and micromanagement. Jesus no doubt was not in every detail of His disciples' politics, family and community relations, etc. But as He was their rabbi (teacher) He did expect a time and obedience commitment from those He called.
Sometimes when delegating it can be done a little at a time, to see if people will follow through, etc. As the Perry Noble article states, it can be dangerous "to empower people and not hold them to any sort of standard of accountability". It is truly difficult to know what is in people's hearts. Some (especially youth) rise to the responsibility. Some, you give too much power too soon and it goes to their heads.
This is intended more for the workplace, but in reading it, I realize I experience it in church too. As I read it, I was thinking, hey this reminds me of so and so. I see how this person is this way, etc. I wouldn't say it's all fair to say worship leaders have all the characteristics, but often times have some.
The essence of being a leader in church is to raise up other people, training and equipping them for service. Micro-management can only ever work counter to that. That is not to say that some people do not require careful supervision if they lack in certain areas, but the objective should always be to equip them to move forward and no longer need the leader's supervision.
Micro-management is usually a sign of either personal inadequacy or a dominant spirit that seeks to control. In a worship context, it's not about the perfection of the performance, but instead the hearts of individuals.
We've experienced being micro-managed by a church leader. It was painful, frustrating, humiliating, dis-empowering, controlling and eventually crossed the line into bullying. We ended up having to leave that church for a season. The whole episode (lasting over a year) was one of the most difficult times of our lives.
As Toni said, the ideal is to equip and release people into their own ministires, not to hold on to power for no good reason. The first multiplies workers for the Kingdom, the second depletes those numbers. I think it's a 'Christendom' versus 'Kingdom' issue. The Christendom model is very much about control, heirarchy, top down 'management' of believers in churches. The Kingdom model is more about flat-line ministry, a genuine priesthood of all believers, a missional approach, seeking to build God's Kingdom by telling people about Jesus and making disciples.
This is not to say that I don't believe in leaders. I do. Some are gifted at drawing out the best in people. Others are useless and even toxic. It can take years for a church to recover from a leader like that and begin to grow by conversion again.
When we found ourselves leading a worship team again after that episode, we strove to encourage people in their walk with the Lord, discover individual gifts, to help train people, give them opportunities to test their giftings, equip them with a foundation in Bible knowledge and build up their confidence so that they could each take over from us sooner rather than later. We've been trying to do ourselves out of a job. LOL!
We did a lot of soul-searching after the accusations of being 'unteachable'. Eventually, after several months of praying and crying out to the Lord, we began to believe that we had not been at fault. We love to learn. It was rather the leader who had abused his position by calling us that. It's the ultimate weapon, isn't it? It destroys a person's reputation and makes it hard for them to come back from.
Ah well, enough of that personal experience. Just a plea, please equip and release people into ministry rather than seek to control under the guise of leadership.