A friend of mine recently retired from the US Army as a Lt. Colonel. At one point in his career, he was a tank commander. His last post put him in charge of training thousands of soldiers before they headed overseas. He knows what it takes to be a leader.
My wife and I were talking last night about church leadership, not just pastoral leadership but leadership within the different ministries. I told her that my style of leadership is extremely effective because I make sure several foundational strategies are put into place. Once these are in place, my volunteers know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, why they do it, and what to do when things go wrong. Anyone who is working under my leadership also recognizes how they fit on my team – no matter what I'm leading (church or otherwise).
I'm fortunate in that I'm a natural leader. It's a God-given talent and one that shows up #1 on every skills assessment test I have ever taken. That being said, effective leadership in an AV ministry is crucial for success.
It's easy pointing out aspects of poor leadership. This might include team players being un-trained, under-trained, in-effective, unclear of roles and responsibilities, and desiring of (begging for) proper leadership.
Here is a list of some leadership characteristics that are necessary for anyone who is in leadership in an AV ministry. Each one could be a paragraph on it's own but I think for now, single sentences will get the point across.
1. Training team in equipment usage.
2. Training team in communication with church leadership and worship teams.
3. Rotating team members to prevent burnout.
4. Preventing team members from over-volunteering to prevent burnout and allowing them services where they don't serve so they can worship.
5. Training team in the purpose of the AV ministry – providing the best audio/video atmosphere for worship.
6. Checking in with team members as problems/concerns they might be having – not just when you notice something.
7. Complimenting team members on their work.
8. Reviewing issues that have come up and how to prevent them in the future.
9. Training team in how to deal with surprises – like if a mic stops working during the service.
10. Being in regular discussion with pastoral staff and worship teams as to expectations, needs, and existing issues.
11. Training team in processes and best practices.
12. Confronting team members over issues / problems because of poor behavior.
13. Providing the expectations you have on their role; technical, educational, moral, etc.
14. Regular training on new technologies or processes where appropriate.
15. Providing the training they need so they can do the job with confidence in themselves.
16. Provide an environment that says "it's ok if you mess up as long as you learn from it."
17. No micro-managing.
18. Taking responsibility for the mistakes of your team and working with your team to prevent them in the future.
19. Communicate regularly with your team so they feel part of a team, not just a Sunday volunteer.
20. Laugh with your team – be serious when it's called for but don't have the Darth Vadar mentality.
Going back to my friend who was a tank commander, I think of it like this…my team members are in a tank behind me…have I done everything I could for them so I can trust them with that tank? "I hope so" is not a valid answer.