As a leader it is important to understand that gaining input from those you lead helps them to feel as if they are part of the vision. By giving their input they feel as though they are taking a part in the shaping the future of the ministry. Giving people a say will give them a desire to stay.
I have to admit, however, that I have a problem in doing this. Maybe you have this same problem as well. My problem, simply put, is control. I want to control how things go. I don’t want to listen to a volunteer who may have an idea about changing the ministry. However, allowing your volunteers to have a voice in the ministry, difficult though it may be, allows them to have a deeper sense of ownership.
“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way”. These wise words teaching an important leadership lesson came to me from the most unexpected, unlikely of places; a Chinese fortune cookie. After my meal I broke open the cookie and read, “Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way”. At the end of the day, we as leaders can influence the conversation and shape the way a conversation is carried out so that people end up desiring to go in the direction that we have already predetermined.
Now, this may sound like a manipulative method of leadership to you. It certainly can be, but keep in mind that manipulation is a condition of the heart. Start with a sincere heart of leadership and a desire to do and lead great things. Then gather a team around you, carrying out your vision together, while still achieving their ownership. It all comes down to communication, to sharing your vision while still gaining and soliciting feedback and input from your volunteers. We as leaders need to be excellent listeners, while still being able to validate and confirm that what someone else is saying is in line with where you want to go.
There are people in your ministry who have far greater gifts and abilities than you do. They lead great things in the market place. They have degrees that surpass our personal level of expertise or education. For us not to include them in the future of our ministry is foolish. Keep ahold of the reigns while allowing other people to help steer the direction. While you are the one at the driver seat, allow others to influence the direction you go. People stay where they have a say. Give people an opportunity to influence the ministry you lead.