High Flying Small Group Leadership: 5 Tips for Safe & Effective Takeoff & Landing

They’re easy to spot. There are just some small group organizations and teams that appear to have it all together. They seem to easily fly from one thing to another. They energetically contribute, treating one another with respect. They seem to get so much done with fewer people, more joy, and less aggravation.

So, how do they do it? What do high-flying small group leaders do differently? There are five key skills to not just get off the ground,  but for flying high for a long time(1).

Ignition – Pick Up the Phone

I know, I know, using the phone is oh so 20th century. But research shows that people using the telephone communicate more. It strengthens relationships and avoids misunderstanding. End result – high flying interactions and outcomes.

Taxi – Meetings

Are you sitting down? Here’s the big surprise of the week: poorly run meetings cause dissatisfaction, reducing interaction and creativity. High flying leaders will do just about anything to avoid poorly run meetings, including:

  • Require written prep work
  • Create and follow agendas
  • Start with a short check-in by each person

Acceleration – Non-Ministry Interactions

The old paradigm says that any conversations that have nothing to do with the ministry are a waste of time. But non-ministry interaction deepens appreciation and authentic connections. High-flying teams are significantly more likely to spend time discussing non-ministry matters, and connecting with people for a beverage or meals. They invest time connecting in genuine ways, which yields closer friendships and better teamwork.

Takeoff – Frequent Appreciation

Recognition is often the most powerful motivating force. With high-flying teams, most appreciation flows from peers, not from the top down. It’s part of the fabric of the group. When was the last time you said or did something to make your peers feel valued, appreciated, and respected?  When was the last time you encouraged those leading you?

Altitude – More Authentic

High-flying team members don’t take themselves too seriously. They easily share positive emotions. They complement, joke with, and gently tease. They use exclamation points, emojis, and GIFs in emails. They also tenderly share negative emotions. Suppressing or hiding negative feelings is emotionally expensive and disruptive. It results in distraction and less energy for ministry. Of course, there are ways and times when expressing negative emotions isn’t helpful or appropriate. But when they feel safe to share a full range of emotions, overall performance soars, and everyone benefits.

Time to Takeoff?

Is it time for you and your Small Group leadership to start flying high?

whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

These five steps will help guide and energize your Small Group leadership and participation. It is time to take off. What’s holding you back at the gate?

(1) Source: 5 Things High-Performing Teams Do Differently, Ron Friedman, October 21, 2021, Harvard Business Review


Chet Gladkowski is the Founder of GLAD Associates, Inc. (a) and author of “Have Yourself a Merry COVID-Christmas”(b). He has also launched National Day of Hope(c). His latest books, Hope is Like Steamed Crabs (d) and Hope is Like Barbeque Ribs (e) are available through Amazon.

(a) https://chetglad.org/

(b) https://www.amazon.com/Have-Yourself-Merry-COVID-Christmas/dp/B08J1WLXNS

(c) https://www.nationaldayofhope.net/

(d) https://www.amazon.com/Hope-Like-Steamed-Crabs-Gladkowski-ebook/dp/B09GWBMK3Q

(e) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PZ9LVFS


  • Chet Gladkowski

    Originally from Baltimore, MD, Chet spent his professional career in the insurance technology arena; always looking for better solutions to help people. Now he uses his very unique, practical communication styles based on a variety of digital media, to approach the pain, issues, and heartache that people face with the solution-focused solely on a relationship with Jesus Christ as the answers to our greatest need.

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