Next Level Church in Ft. Myers, Florida has some positive explaining to do about how effective leadership works. How, for instance, did its staff, which recently took the Best Christian Workplaces survey for the first time, score in the 95th percentile as a “flourishing workplace?” And, how do they explain that 96% of their staff are “engaged?” Executive Pastor Mike Ash tells the story about what it took to get there.
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“Two years ago we were growing rapidly as a church and needed to add staff. But, we didn’t know how to reinforce our staff culture,” says Ash. “A church consultant advised, ‘Write down what you love about your staff so you can hold onto it and built on it and use it as a centerpiece for employee reviews.’”
With full staff involvement, Next Level’s leadership created its own “Seven Core Values.”
- Fun. “You can’t sit behind your desk with a mean face on,” says Ash.
- Loyalty. “We stick together and protect each other.”
- Resourcefulness. “We don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and figure things out.”
- Sacrifice. “Staff go above and beyond” (see #3 above).
- Execution with excellence. “We value doing things well at a high pace.”
- Teach-ability and growth. “Be willing to relearn what you already know.”
- Trust. At Next Level Church, this unmistakable thread that weaves all seven values into a fabric of integrity and intentional has been producing clear . . .
- Genuine caring. New hires and staff are regularly asked, “How are you doing emotionally, physically, spiritually and intellectually?” Says Ash, “As the organization grows and becomes more healthy, each of us on staff need to get more healthy, by looking at the junk we’re dealing with inside. Transparency (being honest in a safe work culture) breeds accountability.”
- Celebrating growth. “Each month, all staff vote to honor the person who demonstrates our core values. We’re always wanting to get better.”
- Allowing for failure. “As a staff, we don’t want to get stagnant, so we encourage innovation. Twice a year, each department gathers offsite and asks, “How do we improve and make things better?”
Clearly, this is a flourishing workplace whose leadership is focused on the ultimate goal—to revolve around Jesus and strive to take a life (no matter where you are) to the next level.
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