Selecting Leaders

One of my greatest joys and passions is building great teams.  I love finding the match between a great individual and a great role.  It’s a magical combination.

For much of my career I’ve relied on my intuition to find these winning combinations.  But I’ve also developed some systems and processes that help guide myself and our teams through a thoughtful process for selecting leaders.  Most of my systems and processes focus on helping our team identify the three C’s – Character, Chemistry & Competency.

All three C’s are essential, but today I was reminded that the first step in selecting leaders really must focus on the first one – Character.

In Nehemiah chapter 7, the wall has just been reconstructed and Nehemiah is beginning to set up leadership for the city of Jerusalem.  He chooses two men to lead Jerusalem – Hanani and Hananiah (that’s not confusing at all!).  Verse 2 tells us that Nehemiah selected these two guys because:

1) They were men of integrity

2) They feared God more than most people

I love this!

Nehemiah identified the two most critical factors for selecting leaders who would be able to steward Jersualem’s new found hope and freedom.  He needed extraordinary leaders to embrace the vision and move God’s people forward.

Nehemiah keyed in on the “character” component of hiring.

Note that he didn’t negate the other two C’s…

  • Hanani was his brother – implying chemistry
  • Hananiah was the commander of the citadel – suggesting competency

But Nehemiah made a point of clarifying the character of each of these men and why they were selected to lead.  It seems he understood that everything else would rise or fall on their integrity and their fear of God.

As you’re selecting leaders…

Start with character and confirm with chemistry and competency.

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  • Mike Biddle October 14, 2013  

    I might be totally off base here, but one thing I have noticed with the school system and also some NPOs is the pay scale often narrows down the pool of competent people and competent people often end up holding other job positions making more money. Obviously there are some cases where individuals that are competent are willing to sacrifice salary to do what they feel called to do or the organization offers competitive salaries, but this is often not the case.

  • DefinitelyJon October 14, 2013  

    Great point! Definitely something that should be easy to remember.

  • Learning About Leadership November 7, 2013  

    Building great teams in a church environment absolutely calls for an assessment of character, competency and chemistry. I agree character is a prerequisite. If you are going to examine your role in “building great teams and selecting personnel”, it is really wise to examine the overall long term effects of these “great” pairings of people. Looking at cross point from the outside, it is glaringly apparent that turn over is off the charts. It appears like you struggle with keeping teams that your are building together.
    Remember, in both business and church ministry, turnover needs to be treated like a cancer not the common cold. Look at cross point staff. How many of these people have been with cross point for more than a few years? Compare the number gone to the number who are still on the journey. Retention of leadership says much for your role in selection. As a leader in ministry, it is wise to consider not only the excitement in a hiring or selection of a leader but look at the leader on the entire journey even at the exit.

    • jennicatron November 11, 2013  

      @8be98db2f793a6f5d1ac0351f2343d82:disqus , thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you that evaluating the long term effects of hiring is incredibly important. Just ask our staff who have to endure the hiring process we have in place. 🙂

      I’m not certain how you’ve evaluated Cross Point turnover and consider it “off the charts”. Our turnover rate this year is approximately 10% as compared to the national average of 14% for non-profits. Approximately 50% of the staff have been here 3 years or longer. Also keep in mind that our staff size has nearly doubled in the past 3 years due to growth.

      I hope that info is helpful. If you’re interested in talking more please feel free to email me at jenni(at)crosspoint(dot)tv