Worship Leader Vs Tech Director. Who leads who?
At a Leadership seminar I attended, Bill Hybels was talking about what he calls his 360 Leadership idea.
In a nutshell, you lead down, lateral, up and you lead yourself. Hybels expanded on the lateral leadership part by talking about how, at many church seminars, big churches assume more self importance. They would come in and talk down to small churches, thus alienating them. The relationship is a lateral one and should be treated that way, it is Pastor to Pastor, Leader to Leader.
The Sunday morning relationship between musician and tech can sometime get a little, shall we say, heated.
I have been in sound checks and rehearsals where the tension in the air was so tight that it was palpable. When this happens, it is often the case where the worship leader has “taken control” and everybody must listen to him and follow him or else.
This dictatorship style leading can work well in crisis situations like fighting a fire or engaging in warfare combat, where there is no time or place for niceties or questions.
Sunday mornings should not be like this.
There is also the case where the sound tech is so rude and controlling that musicians will live with a terrible monitor mix, just because they are afraid the sound tech is going to fly off the handle and yell at them if they ask for a change.
Sunday mornings should not be like this.
What is needed is lateral leadership.
My interpretation of lateral leadership is where both the worship leader and the production team look to influence, help and serve each other.
For this to take place these 6 key things must be in place.
If there is not respect between the worship leader and production team someone must leave or radical change needs to take place for this relationship to work. I have been around too many ministries where there is the tech click and the musician click and they are both at constant odds with each other. They talk behind each other back, complain among themselves about the “other guys” and keep walls up so communication is stifled. For a team to function well and exhibit lateral leadership there has to be mutual respect.
2) Listen first.
Everybody has opinions and that is great, share your opinion, but as a rule not before the other person has shared their idea or opinion. When we are extremely excited about something it is hard not to blurt it out. It is also hard to really listen to the other person as you just want to spit out your idea. You need to listen, really listen to the other person before you speak. Really listening means that you are seeking to understand the person not just hear them
3) Extend trust/be vulnerable.
Give the other person the benefit out the doubt and be willing to share how you are feeling about things. Until you decide to trust the other person and to be vulnerable, chances are they will also not be vulnerable or trusting of you. Without trust there is no real relationship.
4) Create a safe space.
Be proactive about creating a space where opinions and ideas can openly be expressed. Never put down a person. Never dismiss their idea in a way that makes them embarrassed for bringing it up or belittled by your response to it. For the worship team and production team all ideas and opinions should be validated and encouraged.
5) Do not move on without consensus.
You might have to say something like, “George, I know you don’t necessarily agree with me on this, but can we move forward and can you do it with 100 percent effort? I know that it is not easy, and I appreciate you doing this for the sake of the team” Note, if the consensus required is always to get people to agree and jump in on your ideas, you are really operating under a dictatorship.
It may be guised as a collaborative group, but if you have conditioned everyone to be yes-men and women, or you are always convincing (manipulating) others to get your way, face it, you’re being a dictator. Maybe a nice one and a crafty one, but still a dictator.
6) Understand Each other.
Previously I have written articles on this. “What Techs really want from a worship leader?” and What does a worship leader really want from a sound Tech. I recommend that Techs and Musicians read both of them. In Stephen Covey’s book on The 7 Habits, Habit 5 states, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Learn what “the other” guys really want or need, before you push yours.
Lateral leadership really boils down to serving, supporting and encouraging each other.
This article probably should have been titled “The service between a worship leader and a tech director” instead of “Worship Leader Vs Tech Director, who leads?”