The Healthy Church Staff Podcast

Help! I'm being Micromanaged!

February 28, 2024 Todd Rhoades Season 1 Episode 38
The Healthy Church Staff Podcast
Help! I'm being Micromanaged!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you ever get the feeling that someone's peering over your shoulder, scrutinizing every move you make in your ministry? That's the specter of micromanagement, and on today's Healthy Church Staff Podcast, I, Todd Rhoades, guide you through the maze of tight control and its impact on church life. We're peeling back the layers on this tricky subject, highlighting six unmistakable signs that point to an overbearing leadership style. From the fine-toothed comb run through your budget to the magnifying glass held over your personal connections, we're tackling how such intense oversight can suppress the spirit of innovation, sap enthusiasm, and breed a culture of tension among church staff.

Stepping into the fray, this episode isn't just about the problems; it's about finding solutions and reclaiming your passion for ministry. I share actionable advice for uplifting communication, building a case for a more nurturing work environment, and proactively polishing your own skill set to ensure you're not the one at fault. It's a call for self-reflection and crafting a bespoke plan to break free from the clutches of micromanagement. I'm inviting you to join the conversation, reach out, and share your journey. Because it's only together that we can cultivate a vibrant, empowering atmosphere for everyone in our church communities.

Have questions or comments? Send to podcast@chemistrystaffing.com

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Speaker 1:

Hi there, welcome to this episode of the Healthy Church Staff Podcast. My name is Todd Rhodes. I'm one of the co-founders over at chemistrystaffingcom. I'm so glad. I'm not sure how you found us, but I'm really glad that you're here today. And today we're going to talk about something that I hear as I talk to candidates every day.

Speaker 1:

I hear this quite often and it's one of the major reasons why people are contacting me to say, hey, I'd really like to find a different place in ministry. And here's how it goes hey, Todd, help me, I'm being micromanaged. First of all, what in the world does that mean it could? It just means you're being closely monitored, maybe a lot more closely monitored than what you think you should be in your current role. It means that your supervisor maybe your pastor, maybe another supervisor is really detailed and really excessive in their criticism and their instructions to you. And yes, it's a problem in the church. It rears its ugly head on many a church staff and, as we're going to talk about here in a second, a lot of times it causes people to leave and to go somewhere else. So how do you know if you're being micromanaged in a church? I think sometimes you just know, but there are some certain red flags. Let's see two, four, six of them here that I've identified. The first is theological, and it could just almost come across as a condescending behavior. Look, hey, you don't have the training that I have. It's a mindset that I know better than you and we're going to really watch you like a dog.

Speaker 1:

Theologically, Sometimes this is micromanagement, Sometimes this is just the culture of the church. But that's one way that micromanagement can rear its ugly head. Another and I hear this quite often is financial. You've got a budget. You don't really have any authority over your budget. You have to get every single thing approved, even minor spending. Any kind of ministry decision is micromanaged. You have to have that approval to be able to spend a nickel. Sometimes it's with office hours. This is how the micromanaged mindset goes. Hey, we pay you and you need to be here.

Speaker 1:

Accounting of your time and your calendar always may seem under scrutiny if you're constantly being what you feel is micromanaged. Sometimes it's even making you feel guilty about taking time off. If you're in a church where you know, to use your PTO is looked at as being a lack of dedication to the church or the ministry. They hardly ever say this out loud, but at least about you. But a lot of times it's just that feeling that hey man, if you were all in, why do you need to take so much time off? Sometimes that's a way that you can be micromanaged. Another is just the culture of your. You're always under pressure. Maybe you need to write regular written reports that you feel are just there to justify your existence. Sometimes that's micromanagement. And then the last way that I hear from a lot of candidates and people that we talk to is that they feel like they're overly scrutinized in their personal relationships. Their personal relationships are monitored. All of their activity is monitored. They're small group attendance, they're tithing records, they're spouses activities, all of those kind of things. Some of those, when taken to extreme, can be really unhealthy and they show themselves all the time in the church.

Speaker 1:

So what really does micromanage? What effects does it have on the church? And micromanagement really does a lot of things that are just not good. First of all, it stifles innovation. If you're being micromanaged or you're in a micromanaging environment, that micromanagement really severely hampers any kind of creativity and innovation, because here's why the staff feel like they're unable to take risks or think outside the box, because they're going to get caught on the carpet for it. So it can really be an innovation stifler.

Speaker 1:

Over time it will lower people's passions for ministry. There's no joy in mudville. Access oversight can dramatically reduce staff and engagement and passion for ministry. It just makes. It takes all the joy out of ministry when you're being micromanaged and because of that it also increases stress and exhaustion. The constant criticism can just be exhausting, it can be demoralizing, it can lead to more mental drain and eventually it can lead to burnout. And all of this said, Micro-management obviously over time leads to reduced effectiveness. With less energized and stressed out staff, the church will eventually struggle to operate at full capacity and I see this a lot in churches and eventually, if it's a culture of micro-management, staff will leave. Eventually. It often pushes away talented staff and it results in really disruptive turnover.

Speaker 1:

All right, what can you do about it? You're crying out loud. You accepted this job, you maybe moved halfway across the country to take this job and all of a sudden you're being micro-managed. What can you do about it? Here's some proactive ways. And first of all let me say I understand. This is a very difficult situation. The first thing I'm going to tell you to try is going to go against everything that you feel like you should be doing, and that's, first of all, is be proactive and ask for feedback. Ask for feedback before it's given. If you've got a manager that's a micro-manager, see if it helps to be proactive and lean into it. You can only do this for a season, but just to see what it does, maybe it will help. Maybe it will help. Second thing is all right, and this one's going to cut a little deep too.

Speaker 1:

Make sure that you're competent, Improve your skills. Not every criticism and this is really important not every criticism is micro-management. Are you the only one on your team that's experiencing this from this person? If so, then it might not be that you've got a micro-manager on your hand. It might be that maybe your performance is not meeting others' expectations. So make sure that you're competent, improve your skills and make sure that you don't just jump at everything to say, oh, I'm being micro-managed because maybe you aren't.

Speaker 1:

Here's another word of wisdom, and I've learned this the hard way Don't buck the system. Chances are you won't win that fight with your supervisor. Don't ignore the problem. Don't try and thwart the authority. Don't try and if he tells you or she tells you not to do this, don't do it anyway. If he says, don't do it this way, don't do it, a way that's not exactly that way but almost like that way, you'll lose that battle. Every time, my friend, I'm telling you try not to buck the system.

Speaker 1:

You need to work within the system as much as you can, Set boundaries and be reasonable. You just have to be reasonable and that also allows you to take care of yourself. You need to deal with your own self-care. Make sure that you practice regular spiritual renewal. Make sure you rest to avoid that burnout and I know this is not easy. I'm not asking, this is not easy. Be open to have some serious discussions, one-on-one with your manager. Tell him how you feel. If that doesn't work, biblically, take another trusted staff member. If other staff members feel the same way, it's a time to maybe have that conversation.

Speaker 1:

Communication I'm always for open communication and serious discussions and I realize they're hard and they involve confrontation and really hard discussions. But communication, open communication, is really important and really key. And do whatever you can. Sometimes you can only do so much. Do what you can to make it a better place. Be with peace with your supervisor as much as you can and eventually you have to make decisions.

Speaker 1:

Can you serve at this church under this manager, under this pastor, whatever it is? Can you serve there a long time? You don't want to be a casualty, but you have to be in a place where you can serve in a healthy environment and sometimes over time. If you're not able to get out the clutches of micromanagement, sometimes you can talk into a person like me, talking to them about what are my options, where else can I go? So that's always the last resort.

Speaker 1:

I hope this has been helpful to you. I know a lot of people that I talk to just really struggle with at least the sense that they're being micromanaged and, like I said, it's not uncommon. You're not alone. So if you got nothing out of this, just know that you're not alone and that there are things that you can do. Go back and listen to this podcast again and write out a plan. I would love to hear your story. You can catch me anytime at podcast at chemistry staffing, and I would love to hear more about your feedback on this podcast and love to hear your story about, maybe, how you've been micromanaged and what your plan is to move forward. All right, I hope this is helpful. We'll talk to you tomorrow, and tomorrow we are going to be talking about how to identify prepared future leaders. You won't want to miss it here in the Healthy Church Step Podcast.

Identifying and Addressing Micromanagement in Church
Improving Communication and Addressing Micromanagement