10 Reasons Your Church Or Organization Is Losing Its Top People

For some leaders this is not going to be a Merry Christmas.  Over the last several months some very talented people who you relied on greatly have left your church or organization.

You have tried to rationalize it but deep down you know it could have been prevented.  Going through your mind is meetings that did not go well, little hints they left, the long lunch hours, and times they called in sick.  Now that all the puzzle pieces are place, you’re left to develop plans moving forward hoping to make up for their absence.

If you’ve been in leadership long enough, you have experienced this.  Could it have been prevented?  Were there warning signs?  Read the following list and perhaps next time you can proactively retain your best and brightest talent.

These are some of the reasons top people, your leaders, leave churches and organizations to seek opportunities elsewhere:

  1. Lack Of Vision – Leaders are attracted to vision.  If your church or organization’s vision lacks clarity or a compelling nature, top people may choose to follow a different vision.
  2. Unrealistic Goals – There is a difference between a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and a Big Crazy Audacious Goal (BCAG).  Leaders know the difference.  When faced with a BCAG, leaders become apathetic and simply roll their eyes or literally throw their hands up in the air.
  3. Dysfunctional Leadership – There is limited potential in organizations where the executive leadership lacks unity.  When this environment exists, top people know there is little longevity to be had.  They go elsewhere seeking security. 
  4. Kings Talks To Kings – Relationships matter.  If leaders or top performers are leaving your team, others will follow. 
  5. False Starts – Have broken promises or unfulfilled expectations compounded in your church or organization over time?  If so, trust is lost and high-capacity individuals will join an organization with leadership that consistently delivers. 
  6. Early Adopters – You can’t leapfrog leaders.  When leaders are not brought in early on the development of projects or initiatives, they intuitively know their thoughts and skills are not needed.  They will leverage their talents in areas where they can make a difference.
  7. Marginalization – When top people have their opinions dismissed they become exceedingly frustrated.  An exasperated phrase you hear at this stage is “They’re never going to get it!”  They will go somewhere where they do.
  8. Lack Of Opportunity – Often leaders outgrow their position.  If they want additional responsibility or wish to pursue significance, top individuals will explore those possibilities.
  9. Dismissed – High-capacity leadership does not desire position, but rather influence.  When financial leaders or skilled artists are ignored, specifically at church, they will transition to where their giftedness and influence can be properly leveraged.
  10. Ungratefulness – Everyone likes to be told they’re pretty.  Always tell top talent “Thank You!”  Even your leaders are starving for appreciation.

My hope for you is that not only do you add talented people in 2011, but also retain the ones currently on your team.  And don’t forget….say “Thank You”.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.

4 Responses to “10 Reasons Your Church Or Organization Is Losing Its Top People”

  1. Good relationships is the big thing with unity in ministry.

    My personal experience was, (being such a nice guy who couldn’t say ‘no’), I was overworked. I got a lot of appreciation but I was trapped in never ending ministry jobs I couldn’t get out of for lack of help. I was in a smaller church trying to do big church things.

    Thier focus was on a nice perfect Sunday morning worship service to draw people in but that was very man focused and not God focused. It wasn’t working and I was stressing out. I hated church for this.

    This is one major reason I haven’t gone back to church after moving from Michigan to Illinois for a job. Oppertunity knocked and I got to instantly drop 8 different church duties. I think I was more relieved to get out of all those duties than I was in getting a job after 9 months laid off.

  2. My initial reaction was to immediately use the list in this post as a litmus test on how our administrator and management team are stacking up. However, before I finished reading the list I had already switched gears to using the list as a litmus test to see how I am doing as a ministry leader. I began to think about the volunteers that I have stepped down this past year from the ministry I oversee. What happened that caused them to move on? Were their gifts and talents being over looked? Did I miss the hints that they were feeling unappreciated? What should I have done differently? What will I do differently going forward? Lot’s to ponder!

    • What a great response. Here’s what I know, the fact you are even willing to do self-examination is an indicator to me at how lucky your church is to have you. Leaders always go first and when you do look outwardly that inward process will give you increased credibility. Let me know how it goes.

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