Embracing Collaborative Leadership: Moving Beyond the Ceo Model


In recent years, churches and organizations have undergone significant shifts across various facets, spanning from attendance trends to resource allocation and volunteer recruitment. However, one prominent change stands out amidst this evolution: a transition towards collaborative leadership.

Gone are the days when leadership simply meant dictating a vision for others to follow. With younger generations joining our teams and a heightened awareness of ethical and moral failures in senior leadership positions, there’s a growing acknowledgment of the value and need for multiple voices and ownership. Rather than relying solely on top-down directives, today’s leaders recognize the importance of fostering a culture of collaboration where every voice is heard and valued.

But what does this mean for those who may not naturally gravitate towards relational leadership? Here are 4 quick steps I’ve found to help create a creative and collaborative space for those you serve and lead alongside:

Slow Down

At the core of building a relational culture is the simple yet profound act of slowing down. Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily tasks and responsibilities, it’s crucial to pause and recognize the individuals who make up our organization. Culture isn’t shaped in boardrooms or strategy meetings; it’s cultivated on the ground, in the everyday interactions with our team members. By taking the time to truly see and appreciate the unique contributions of each person, we lay the foundation for a culture rooted in respect and empathy.

Be Intentional

Intentionality is the cornerstone of fostering meaningful connections within our teams. It’s about more than just exchanging pleasantries; it’s about creating genuine opportunities for interaction and engagement. Whether it’s a quick chat in the break room or a casual conversation during lunch breaks, these moments of intentional connection can have a profound impact on team dynamics. By showing genuine interest in the lives and interests of our colleagues, we demonstrate that they are valued not just for their work output,  but as individuals with their own stories and experiences.

Remember Details

One of the most powerful ways to show appreciation for our team members is by remembering the little details that make them who they are. Whether it’s remembering a recent milestone in their personal life or asking about their hobbies and interests, these small gestures convey a sense of care and investment in their well-being beyond the workplace. By acknowledging and celebrating the fullness of each person’s identity, we foster a culture of belonging and inclusivity.

Cheer Loud

Celebration is a powerful tool for reinforcing positive behaviors and fostering a sense of camaraderie within our teams. As leaders, it’s essential to be vocal in recognizing and celebrating the achievements of our people. Whether it’s a public shout-out during a team meeting or a heartfelt message of appreciation, these acts of encouragement serve to uplift and motivate our team as they feel appreciated, valued, and that their spot on the team matters apart from what they do. In a world often marked by criticism and negativity, let us be a voice of encouragement and affirmation, cheering loudly for the success of those around us.

As leaders, we have the opportunity to shape the culture of our organizations through our actions and attitudes. By prioritizing relationships, intentionality, and celebration, we can create environments where collaboration thrives, and individuals feel valued and empowered to contribute their best. Let us commit to cultivating a relational culture where every voice is heard, and every person is celebrated.