I recently wrote an article about Positional Leadership and how it can only take you so far. This is the lowest and least effective level of leadership. People simply follow because they have to. In that same article, I argue that you and I must work to minimally get to the second level of leadership, which is Permission Leadership: this is based on relationship: people follow because they want to.

Yet, even Permission Leadership can only take you so far. The third level of leadership is Production Leadership: this is based on results and people follow because what you have done for the organization.

This one is a little bit more tricky. We actually have to create results and make a difference. We can’t just be the nice guy or gal.

Actually, this one is particularly tough on me. As I take stock on my 20+ years of ministry, which level of leadership do I exhibit most often? I know that my positive energy and smile can take me far, but the reality is that those things harness my Permission Leadership, relationships. Have I truly led at the Production level? Have I created the results?

If I’m honest, not as much as I’d like. The truth is that at any given time, I’m leading at many different levels of leadership. With some people, I am purely a Positional Leader. To others, I’m a Permission or Production Leader.

But the levels of leadership really are a ladder. You are more able to create results in your ministry if you are good at relationships. Relationships multiply your results.

Here are some strategies to help you and I move up the ladder to Production Leadership:

  • Build teams: Don’t do anything alone. If you need to get something done, engage your relationship skills and invite people to join you. As the old adage goes, it takes teamwork to make the dream work. As cheesy as that statement can be, it’s true. You and I are not as smart and good as we think we are. The team makes us smarter and better. Don’t be a lone ranger. The results will be more impactful when you bring a team around you.
  • Prioritize your ministry: you and I do too much in our ministry! The result is, well, a lack of results. We sometimes assume motion is progress. Sometimes, motion is just motion and does not lead to progress. Worst of all, we boast about how busy we are, how many hours we worked, how many emails we got today. Can I share some truth? No one cares! But what people do care about is results. So stay focused on the things that really need to be done. The fact is I do a terrible job of separating out what’s urgent and what’s important. Sometimes, the most important things in my ministry will never be urgent. The more focused I am, the more results I’ll have.
  • Define success: When I talk about success in ministry, it can sometimes be met with cold shoulders. There’s good reason for that. How do you measure success in Church? Money? Number of people in the pews? Well, ultimately, my opinion is that the goal of the Church is to bring people to Christ in relationship with the faithful community. But, that’s kind of hard to measure. How do I know someone has a relationship with Christ? However, things like Mass attendance and stewardship are indicators. Those things can be measured. Don’t shy away from defining and measuring what success is for your ministry. It can be around attendance, how many small groups you have in your parish, dollars donated, or how many volunteers you have. I can’t tell you what is success for your ministry. Spend some time trying to define what it means to be successful in your ministry and that will go a long way to helping you achieve results.

Results matter in leadership. Results matter in ministry. Don’t default and let relationships be the most important factor. Relationships are important, but we can take our leadership to the next level with results.

Question: What has been one result you achieved in your ministry and how did it impact your leadership?