One of the things I miss most from my time as a camp director is the opportunity to serve alongside a team of committed individuals. My wife, Julie, and I worked as co-directors with a small year round staff and a much larger summer staff. I don’t wouldn’t say that I have a well-defined theory of leadership but there are some principals that I believe in and tried to build my work around; a shared vision is more important than blind obedience and that collaboration is better than hierarchy.
That is what this article reminds me of. At a certain point there needs to be the capacity to make the executive decision. But when every decision becomes an executive decision that becomes the only role that person can fill. Instead of raising money, coaching staff or crafting strategy the executive is picking the color of the curtains. Not only does it slow everything up but those who carry out those decision are robbed of any chance to build ownership in their work.
For me this is a question of motivation; what did I want motivating my staff? I did not want my staff to be there because they were personally committed to me. I might have been in charge but I didn’t want to be the reason they were washing a camper’s peed in sleeping bag for the fourth time that week. I want them to do it because they were committed to that camper having a transformative experience at camp. I wanted them to be there because they loved Jesus and knew they could show their campers something of the world Jesus wants for us by their service and silliness.