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Tim McDermott “Improving Your Leadership at the Station:  One New Thing”

I remember back in 1994 when the Houston Rockets won their world championship.   The team had reached the pinnacle of the NBA world.  The city was electric and the players were given a huge parade to celebrate.  Sports commentators were saying the Rockets could be champions for years to come. So what do you do next when you are at the top?  Coach Rudy Tomjonavich issued a challenge to his players – improve in one area before the next season began. Not five things, not ten things, but one.


So here it is a new year and a new decade. Many of you have been leaders in your organizations for years. In many markets, we are seeing ratings success and impact like never before. With all the seminars, resources, and Facebook groups, we are learning a lot and we’re discovering new areas where we can grow.  So here’s my challenge this year to you.  Work on one thing this year to improve your leadership. Not five things, not ten things, but one.  Don’t tell anyone what it is.  Just do it. If something has not jumped out at you, let me suggest some things you can do.


1)Don’t work on Sundays. I know we all know the 10 commandments about keeping the Sabbath day holy and I am not trying to be legalistic here, but you need a break from work.  What does that mean?  No e-mails, no texts, no phone calls and can I say it – no listening to your station. We need a break. God gave us the Sabbath to rest.  It is for us so we can be refreshed.  If we are working 24/7, we will literally kill ourselves.  What if the station goes off the air?  Well, of course, you need to attend to it – much like Jesus told us to take care of the ox that falls into the ditch.  But if you are going off the air every Sunday, then maybe you need some new, more reliable equipment!  You need a break.


2) Let someone else have your idea. You have been in meetings where the team searches for an answer.  As an experienced leader, you probably know the right answer.   You might think if you share it, then the meeting will be more efficient and it might even keep the ministry from derailing.  The problem is once you speak, the conversation is over for the team.  Instead, listen, ask questions and then let the team come up with the idea.  How great is it for the team to come up with answers you already knew!  It’s empowering for the team and the culture.


3) Be more approachable. Do you have lunch at your desk or out of the office all the time?  How about once a month surprising the staff and show up in the lunch room and eat with them?  Keep the conversations away from work topics.  Just be yourself and enjoy the company of your co-workers.  Building relationships is a key to being able to resolve conflict later.  The more you are removed from the staff the greater the opportunity for negative perceptions.


4) Step up in your spiritual role at the station. I believe the most important quality a leader can have is the spiritual one.  As a leader you set the tone for your spiritual impact of your organization.  What does this mean?  It may mean you sharing a devotion with your team. It might mean when someone has a prayer request, you initiate praying for them right then in that moment.   If your staff sings worship songs at meetings, it may mean you being all in and letting them see you worship – not in a Pharisee way, but in a genuine authentic all-in approach.  There is something extra powerful about pressing in to the Lord and letting your team see it.


5) Intentionally encourage your team. I love doing this and have really seen how this can impact the team. Take the time to write each of your staff members an encouraging note on how much you appreciate them.  I don’t know if you realize the power of your position and how much those notes can mean.  One time as a staff, I decided to take it to the next level.  At a staff meeting I used the time to publicly have each person stand and I spoke briefly about each person and what a gift they were to the ministry.  Needless to say, it was a very emotional and powerful meeting.  Another idea is to write a thank you note to the spouse of the staff and let them know how much their spouse means and to thank them for the times their spouse had to be at the ministry.  If you want to include a gift card, then that can be a nice touch.


So what happened after the Rockets won their NBA Championship and they all worked on one thing? The went the following year to repeat as NBA Champions.   I believe if you work on one thing you will see your impact as a leader be even stronger.


Tim McDermott was the President of KSBJ for 27 years and now serves as COO of praiseLive. He can be reached at tmcdermott.cpa@gmail.com.


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