Balancing Leadership Tensions

The last four months of ministry has been summed in one word for me: tension. I have had tensions in ministry that has stretched both ends of the pendulum:

  • How can we discipline adolescents relationally or/and structurally?
  • How can we spend more money and/or make more money to continue to move the ministry forward?
  • Do we have enough resources; money and leaders/volunteers; for the needs of the adolescents representing our culture and programs?
  • How do we create a fun and safe environment?
  • How can I balance time, family, and needs more effectively?

These have been questions on my mind for a while. In fact, it seems like a balancing act as these tensions always come back to the table. I will have to come to grips that balancing tensions will always BE on the table… and if I want to thrive, I need to balance tensions effectively.

Ever been there before? Perhaps it is money tensions, worship paradigms, or direction/vision issues; in any case, healthy tensions are good and need to be managed well.

Andy Stanley has some great thoughts on tensions that I would like to share with you:

  • Tensions NEVER go away and need to be managed well
  • Tensions NEED to be guided by: “what will make the organization better?” rather than asking or determining or siding with opposite ends of the tension. It isn’t about a personal view as much as what will move the organization forward
  • Tensions ARE determined by the rhythm (the heartbeat of the organization at the moment as we all know that organizations change and shift over time) of the organization; what is going well? What needs to be axed? What do we need to pour in to regarding time, talent, and treasure?
  • Tensions need to be COMMUNICATED well… determine mature people on both sides of the tension, distinguish a directed path that bests the organization, reveal the weaknesses on both sides of the tension.
  • DON’T pick sides or try to please people in the tensions of the organization. Picking sides or pleasing others will create problems rather than balance tensions.

What are some things that you need to balance in your leadership tensions? How are you communicating tensions effectively to and in your organizational structure? And, have you taken the time to look back and see how far you have come in your organization as you determine the tensions that need to be balanced?

Be encouraged leader! Tensions are a part of any healthy organization.