Grace-Based Leadership: Hiring Staff

Recently, a friend of mine leading a small charity (small only in staff size, huge in terms of impact!) inquired about the rubric I used when assessing potential staff hires. In our organization, staff is everything: we will succeed or fail based on our staff!

We have both paid staff and volunteer staff … though whether someone is on payroll is not indicative of the importance of their role.

Here are things to consider when looking into hiring a staff member:

Accurate Job Descriptions Are Key

Clarity about expectations is everything. Put all job-related details into writing. Include roles and responsibilities as well as employment details. Lack of clarity brings misunderstanding which breeds disappointment, hurt feelings, and erosion of trust. We do our best to follow Andy Stanley’s motto: If you can’t be right, at least be clear!

Make the Following Three Elements Non-Negotiable

  1. Character—every new hire must have sterling character. Extreme talent may catapult a person to incredible heights; but without character to keep her there, a tragic fall is inevitable.
  2. Competence—a team member may be hired based on character; without competence, however, this team member will quickly become the team’s limitation and source of resentment and disappointment.
  3. Chemistry—does the team actually enjoy this person’s company? Will she add to the fun and excitement of the work atmosphere? Is the team going to increase morale with her input?


Staff Alignment:

We work very hard to make sure we have unity of heart, mind, vision, and core values among our staff. We do this in many different ways—but high trust-relationships can only be developed with alignment.
As soon as you sense staff are pulling in different directions, or with varied agendas—you can be sure you have vision drift and misalignment.
You must not rush the evaluation of alignment with potential staff hires!

Emotional Health and a Strong, Christian Identity

In counseling with my friend, I mentioned that this fourth point was new—and equally as important as all of the others!

More than ever before, I see how inner shame cripples productivity, relationships, and healthy emotions. The antidote is to bring this topic of shame into the light, and provide a place of empathy and support for our teams—and assist our people to discover their true identity in Christ!

 Overcoming inner shame is a huge topic in and of itself.

It will take courage to address these four issues, but will result in an amazing culture of mutual love, respect, and empathy. Everyone wants to be part of this kind of team!

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