There have been a few occasions as Chairman of this or President of that where a member or small group of members attempted to thwart my leadership or undermine my position of authority. I don’t want to believe that they were motivated by greed or envy or evil. I’ve thought that they just had a different point of view and used their influence or power or situation to defeat what I was elected or selected to accomplish. Over time I have slowly learned how to cope with these types of individuals – sincere and well-meaning – but in the end they are overwhelmingly destructive and hostile people. I believe that if I had been given counsel or advice earlier on, I could have avoid many sleepless nights and hours of soul-searching. “Ministering to Problem People in Your Church” by Marshall Shelley is one of the resources I wish I had found many years ago. While the title might throw you (I’m not a minister and I don’t regularly go to church), this book speaks to any person in a leadership position who has been given a task or mission to accomplish. To be a successful leader, you must be able to cope with all types of individuals and maintain your focus on the end game. Hard to do that when some of the people you MUST work with have decided you’re moving in the wrong direction, or that you’re the wrong person for the job. Resign? Quit? Marshall Shelley has some compact advice when attempting to deal with “well-intentioned Dragons”. Over eleven chapters Shelley discusses different type of dragons (individuals) you might have on a committee or board and how you should begin to adjust your style of leadership to avoid conflict and effect needed change. There are examples on how to avoid personal attacks or how to deal with new types of communication tools: email, blogs, etc. While many of the solutions offered by Shelley are based in scripture and reflect his background and training as a minister, his perspective is useful and insightful for any manager or person tasked with a mission or goal.
Ministering to Problem People in Your Church, by Marshall Shelley, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, Minnesota, 2013.
Review copy provided free of charge by publisher.