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Brian Sanders “Leadership in Christian Radio” Part 3

interview-briansDear Christian Radio…

What we do every single day matters.

This is the third installment in a 4-part series on Leadership in Christian Radio.

So far, we’ve discovered the issues facing us and laid out some initial first steps. 

Now what?  I mean, what does a leader do on a day-to-day basis?

The best way I know how to answer this is to tell you about my typical day and week.

Before I lay out my average day, please do not think I’m offering a cookie-cutter approach to being a leader.  What I’m giving you is what works for me and PAR.

What’s a typical day look like in the life of Brian?

Awake around 5am and spend some time with Jesus by reading His word and praying.

Then I’m reading a Leadership book.  I have to invest in myself as a leader.  I must continue to hone my skillset, learn new things and be reminded of the basics. A pro-athlete never stops visiting the gym, being coached or training.  The same is true with you as a leader.  What’s the last book you read on leadership?  President Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”  He’s right.

6:30am – time with Mrs. Kayla (my wife).  We talk about everything.  She’s my number confidant.  I value her advice above all.  Having morning and evening times set aside for her helps to protect our marriage from being overrun by my passion for Christian radio.  She tempers me.  She keeps me balanced.  She’s able to speak truth to me without any fear of retribution. 

8am-8:30am – In the office – This is important.  I try to meet with my boss, the president of PAR, on a daily basis.  I leave chunks of time available everyday.  I do not ask that his schedule fit mine.  I serve to fulfill his agenda, not the other way around.  Meeting daily, even if it is just for 15 minutes, allows us to keep a strong relationship, build trust and keep communication flowing.  Having a strong relationship with Eddie Baker, PAR’s president, has been the cornerstone to any success I’ve experienced as a leader at PAR.

I have thirteen direct reports, not including consultants PAR has hired.

These thirteen comprise the PAR Leadership Team.  I meet with each of them, one-on-one, on a weekly basis.  Since PAR is made up five different brands, these leaders all serve at either one of the brands or at the corporate office.  If the leader is at corporate, we will meet in person.  If they’re at one of our stations, we will use video conferencing.  I despise phone meetings.  I want to see facial expressions because they tell me if someone is listening and if they have buy-in.

These thirteen meetings are spread throughout the week.  I try to hold them sacred and let nothing cancel them.  That can’t always be helped.

Every Thursday, we have the PAR Leadership Video Conference.  This is PAR Leadership’s weekly staff meeting.  Each station and department gives an update on the progress and activity in their area and how they are advancing the mission and vision.

On Mondays and Fridays, you’ll find me on video conferences taking various PAR Leaders through books we are reading together.  (To work at PAR means you read books!)

Over the past year, PAR has begun coaching and mentoring other local Christian radio stations.  I reserve all those sessions for Friday afternoons. 

Now, let me address a major issue.

Some of you are shouting, “But you’re not doing anything.  All you’re doing is meeting with people.  All you’re doing is coaching people.  Where is the doing?”

Breaking News…as a leader, those meetings are your doing.  That’s where you affirm your team and hold them accountable.  These meetings are meant to encourage, equip, coach, affirm, correct and move the ball down the field.   If you’re not meeting with your direct reports and leadership team, then you’re not leading…they’re leading themselves and that usually spells disaster.

When I meet with a direct report, what’s the agenda?

I always lead with their family.  I ask about their spouse and kids.  Why?  These leaders are my friends.  I want them to know that I care about them personally not just professionally.

We discuss each and every person on their team.  Are they passionate?  Are they living the mission and vision? 

What issues and obstacles are they facing at their station or department?

What are your upcoming events?

How can I serve them?  What do they need to be equipped to get the job done?

We will review income.  We’ll look at donations and underwriting.

(FYI. We dedicate one week per month to P&L reviews with each PAR leader.  That’s attended by the leader, our Director of Accounting and HR and myself.)

I’ll try to ask questions that will give me an example of their leadership.  I’ll ask who are they proud of from this past week and why.  

I follow up on projects that we’re working on and assign due dates to various tasks in that project.

Do I ever go in the field?  Yes.  I try to visit each station quarterly and on top of that I’m at each station’s Sharathon in the spring and the fall.   I’m there to encourage the team, remind them of our mission and vision and thank each of them personally.

Someone will say, “That sounds easy.”

Let me assure you, it’s not.

Each of these daily and weekly meetings….each of these market visits…they are designed to do one thing – get PAR closer to fulfilling it’s mission and vision. 

That requires patience.  And if you ask anyone who works at PAR they will tell you that patience is NOT my spiritual gift.  I’ve heard more than PAR leader say, “When Sanders wants something done, he wanted it done yesterday.”

But – I trust the process.   The meetings work.

They build trust, confidence, keep communication flowing and allow me to effectively inform the President of PAR.

Finally, I leave open time during my day.  I will leave a few hours available each day.

Why?   Because something always hits the fan.  Something will break, there will be a crisis and I will have to address it.   As a leader, you must have the discipline to give the crisis freedom to fit in your day NOT determine the schedule of your day.  That’s the beauty of a daily schedule that has open time built into it.

I usually have lunch with Mrs. K where we get caught up on each other’s mornings.

We’re usually home between 5:30-6pm.  But once home, I’ll fire up the Macbook again and do some more work.

K and I are very intentional in talking every evening. 

I’m not much for TV so you’ll usually find my face stuck in a book.  If the TV is on, it’s usually the news or something from Netflix or iTunes. 

That’s my typical day.

It’s disciplined and regimented but also effective.

Dear Christian Radio,  what does your typical day look like?

As a leader, your day needs to be spent on PEOPLE…not projects.

Brian Sanders

Want to continue the conversation?   Email me:  brian@parfm.com

Read more of our PAR blogs at www.dearchristianradio.com

Read Part 2 Click HERE

Read Part 1 Click HERE

Brian is the Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio in Blacksburg.

PAR has five brands which include Spirit FM in Lynchburg, VA; WCQR in Kingsport, TN; Positive Hits, WPER in Richmond/Fredericksburg, VA; Joy FM in Winston Salem, NC; Walk FM in Ashland, KY, Huntington,WV.

One thought on “Brian Sanders “Leadership in Christian Radio” Part 3

  • Excellent article, I liked the science news daily
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