The Wisdom of Peter Drucker

Posted by Jerry Roth on

Many years ago I was invited to attend a 3-day church leadership conference in Los Angeles sponsored by the Leadership Network. For three days we all sat in a large hotel conference room and were immersed in the wisdom of the speaker, Peter Drucker. One the many management concepts recorded in my notebook centered around this quote from Drucker, “So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”

From that moment forward I began to evaluate managers’ performance, including my own, through the lens of this quote. I was reminded of this performance conundrum this week when I read a short article by Oleg Vishnepolsky on LinkedIn titled, Good managers are magnets of talent. Bad managers are repellents of it

In the article, he listed 11 signs that your job doesn’t deserve you. Here are a few signs relevant to our topic this week:

  • Your boss is micro-managing you and your decisions
  • Your boss does not give you enough feedback and guidance
  • Your boss has little interest in what you are doing, or worse avoids you
  • Your boss is not aware of what you are capable of
  • You cannot remember when was the last time your boss thanked you

Last week I co-facilitated a conference on the subject of Strategic Staffing for Churches. We explored many best practices that can have a positive impact on the management issues related by Vishnepolsky. We noted several performance management actions that can create a supportive work environment. Examples include:

  • Current, accurate & comprehensive staff organization charts
  • Clear reporting relationships known by all
  • Accurate and compelling position descriptions
  • Transparent decision-making authority & accountabilities

Our previous research and reporting has noted that as our church workplaces begin to depend on staff from emerging generations [millennials, Gen X, Gen Z], our management styles and best-practices must be able to answer this question for our staff:

How will my position contribute to achieving the Vision, Mission & goals of this church?

Vishnepolsky ends his brief commentary on managers with this message to staff:

Go where you are celebrated, not just tolerated.

Go where you can make a difference.

Go where your loyalty and hard work will be appreciated.

As church staff and leaders, we can and must respond to these management challenges if we hope to have competent and motivated staff guiding our ministries and achieving our missions. The Center for Parish Leadership can provide relevant consulting and facilitation for your staff and leaders that can incorporate emerging trends and best-practice solutions to these performance management and staff issues. Please contact us to explore how we can support you on this journey.


Jerry Roth

Research Analyst

The Center for Parish Leadership


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