I was recently with some youth ministry colleagues who were sharing some horror stories about their supervisors. These stories were entertaining, yet scary at the same time.
- One colleague shared with me that every day, the Vicar General of their Diocesan office would look out one of the big windows overseeing the parking lot and actually count the cars. He was paying attention to see who was there and who was not based on whether their car was in the parking lot. He actually made notes about it.
- Another colleague told a story about how her supervisor would walk around the parish office to make sure that the ministry staff was at their desk working. If they weren’t at their desk, they received some sort of warning.
- Still another colleague said that his supervisor would walk around the Diocesan office making sure that all the staff was wearing appropriate clothing that matched the office dress code, i.e. coat and tie for guys. One day, my friend was wearing jeans and a collared shirt because he was going to be setting up for an event that afternoon and did not want to be in nice clothes for the set up. His supervisor came to him and asked if he had an event he was setting up for. My friend said yes, to which the supervisor said, “Good. Make sure you go home and change before the event.”
I laugh, but because these stories are true, I cry as well! These stories bring a whole new meaning to the term I use, “walking the halls slowly.”
Since I’ve written about “walking the halls slowly” before, I feel a need to clarify a little more about what I mean.
Walking the halls slowly is not about policing your ministry team. You are not a cop. You are a leader.
Walking the halls slowly is about relationship building.
The stories I shared above would frustrate me to no end if I were in their shoes. They would probably cause me to quit that ministry position. My colleagues are much more patient and gracious then I am. I give them tremendous credit for that.
When you “walk the halls slowly” to police your team, here are some reactions you might get:
- Your staff feels like you don’t trust them.
- Gossip ensues: your staff ends up talking about you behind your back.
- Morale decreases.
- Productivity decreases because your staff does not feel empowered and trusted.
- Ministry starts to suffer.
- The members of your church start wondering why ministry is declining.
- Your staff quits.
- Members leave the church.
- Donations and pledges drop.
- Eventually, the church closes down because of lack of funds.
Yes, I am presenting a worse case scenario, but this can easily happen.
Walk the halls slowly. Don’t police your ministry staff.
Question: Have you ever experienced a leader who policed the halls? How did you react?