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If you want to lead an effective team, you must identify the warning signs that leaders are not on board. They don’t always come with flashing lights and loud noises, however, they do show up before they rear their ugly head in the form of division.

What happens when leaders get passionately divided? Church splits. Or worse.

If leaders get divided and don’t reconcile, they can become viruses within the body of the local church that leads to a slow death. To avoid this, you must unapologetically be aware of warning signs and address them when they come up.

3 Warning Signs That Leaders Are Not On Board

1. They don’t take initiative

Are you left to doing everything yourself? Do the things within their realm of responsibility and authority continue to go undone? If so, you may be dealing with a warning sign. Leaders are not on board when they fail to take initiative.

This is so important because it can be disguised as laziness, but in all reality, it is something much worse.

Leaders who are on board take initiative and get things done. They start things without being prompted or asked. They write down what they learned from a meeting and then they go and take action.

If you are constantly encountering a leader who never takes initiative, then your warning sign detector must begin to go off.

2. They don’t come with ideas

When you have those exciting, high-level-focus meetings where you are dreaming about the future and strategizing for what is next, do you find that you are the only one coming up with new ideas? It could be that your team isn’t made up of idea people, but it could be that your team does have idea people who have ceased to share.

This is a problem because it could be coming from a lack of trust or a lack of care.

Leaders who are on board, think about the problems facing the church and come with solutions and ideas to address them. Leaders who are not on board let others worry about those things.

If you have a leader who never comes with solutions or ideas, you may want to pay attention to your warning sign detector because it is beginning to flash.

3. They don’t practice alignment

Once decisions are made, do you find yourself having to revisit that same decision over and over again with a leader?

Leaders who are on board align themselves with the decisions that are made and move forward despite the potential that they disagreed with the decision itself.

The key with alignment is that the leadership team doesn’t make decisions based on consensus, but it makes them based on alignment. If the decision is aligned with the mission, vision, and strategy of the church, then leaders should fall in line behind it. They can voice their opposition to it, but at the end of the day, the leader (and team) walks away ready to take charge and defend the decision.

If a leader brings up complains of others about a decision, but they didn’t explain and defend the decision, themselves, it may be because they are not aligned.

Great leadership teams are made up of leaders who are aligned. They may disagree in the moment, but once the decision is made, they go forth together.

If after decisions are made, a leader continues to bring up their opposition to it, your warning sign detector should begin going off.

2 Keys to Having an Effective Conversation

Once you’ve identified one of these warning signs, it’s time to have a conversation with them.

First, be honest and specific with your concern.

Second, let them explain.

Ray, I value you as a leader and all that you do for ______ church. I’m a little concerned, though, it seems as though, for the past ______ [timeframe] you haven’t been [insert concern]. Is anything going on? Am I off-base here?

Conversation Breakdown

1. I value you.

2. I’m concerned.

3. This is the concern.

4. Open-ended question.

Then listen.

Resource: Jay Mitchell has a great piece on the Vanderbloemen blog called, How Church Leaders Can Have a Positive Confrontation Conversation. Give that a read.

What Would You Add?

I’d love to hear from you! What have you discovered are additional warning signs that leaders are not on board? Let us know in the comments or on social media (Facebook Group | Facebook Page | Twitter)!

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Brandon Kelley serves at a fast-growing church plant in Batavia, Ohio (east side of Cincinnati) called The Crossing in the role of Outreach & Communications Pastor. He loves to learn and write about preaching and leadership. Connect with him on Twitter.

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