April 16th, 2014

5 Frustrations of 2nd Chair Leadership (Part One)

Chair 150x150I have been in ministry for 30 years and have spent a good bit of time sitting in both the 1st and 2nd chair of responsibility. While I am a natural born leader with a rebel independent spirit deep in my soul, I really enjoy influencing others to be successful. When I was young in my career, I was described by a successful corporate leader as living with a “rocket up my rear.” (Only he didn’t use the word “rear.”) Naively, I took that as a compliment, but later I realized he was trying to make a point to help me improve my 2nd chair skills.

As I developed in my career and became a 1st chair leader I learned several things. It was kind of like the difference I felt the first time I realized that being married without kids was totally different than being married with kids. All of a sudden I knew so much less about parenting.

Over the years I have had the opportunity to saddle up alongside of frustrated 1st chair and 2nd chair people. I have realized that most are driving towards the same goal, but not always riding in the same car seeing the same view. I am not sure of all of the reasons why there is such a big disconnect from two chairs sitting so closely together, but I thought I would provide some help.

I will share my list to help 2nd chair leaders get a little more comfortable in their seat. (It may even encourage some 1st chair leaders though I intend to share a list for them next week.)

Frustration #1: Assumption

The phone of the 2nd chair rings often, but it is not the same call that the 1st chair is receiving. My eyes were opened to how different the problems were when I became a 1st chair leader. As a 2nd chair leader, I received many calls about tasks and the solutions were pretty straightforward. I thought like a farmer, do the tasks in the right order and good results will naturally occur. As a 1st chair leader, the calls were about deep hurts connected to staff, church, and ministries. The problems were more complex than I knew and they were relentless. I had no clue how much the phone rang, how many late nights, and how many deep emotions were involved. This can way heavy on a 1st chair leader that is a passionate shepherd.

Frustration #2: Deception

The 2nd chair can be successful in its own right, but it doesn’t mean you could do a better job sitting in the 1st chair. Early on in my career frustration was always so high for me (remember I had a rocket up my rear). My mind was constantly racing with how I would do things both more efficiently and proficiently. Then, both staff and volunteers would fuel the fire with their own tensions and opinions. These frustrations kept me on edge, and while I was a productive team member, I could have been so much more effective. Try to not let your mind be consumed by unproductive thoughts or harbor the hurts of others. You are a sounding board to help with process. Process can be hard to see at times and is very under appreciated, but it is the main job of the 2nd chair.

Please visit this link for the last three frustrations: http://auxa.no/QgJ6N0.

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