Every week, we ask 5 questions to a different person. The questions remain the same but the people change. Some people are leaders, some are followers, but all have valuable input. This week we meet Matt Sharpe, a former youth and care pastor in a church.
Name: Matt Sharpe
Position: Leader in Transition (Former: Pastor of Youth and Care)
Place: Frankfort, IL
1. Think back to when you were extremely motivated by a boss, leader, or teammate. What did they say or do that motivated you so much and why did it work?
The person who has motivated me the most has been a friend and mentor of mine name Dave Kolb. Dave is a missionary pastor and until his retirement, he trained pastors in Mexico and other places. He was the first person who spoke into my life in a significant way to affirm my call into pastoral leadership.
As I look back, his words were so effective because of who he is and our relationship. He trains pastors both in the US and abroad and, as a result, he has a thorough working knowledge of the skills and character that it takes to be a lead pastor. He also knows me well as a friend and mentor. Thus he knows my strengths and my weaknesses. So for him to share that he believes I am called to pastoral leadership is a huge motivator.
Its interesting that he has never used pep talks or a lot of hype to get me motivated. He really just spoke the truth and, even to this day, gives me opportunities to lead in ministry. This has been more motivating than any sort of “Let’s win one for the Gipper” kind of speeches.
2. When have you been very unmotivated by a boss, leader, or teammate? Why did it create a feeling of un-motivation to do your job better?
Conversely, I look at a former boss who had the exact opposite effect in my life. This boss had no interest in relating to me as a person or even as a colleague. While, on the one hand, I know that being a personal friend or buddy to a subordinate is not in a senior pastor’s job description, on the other hand, I have had supervisors in other industries (like manufacturing) that made it a point to have a personal connection with me.
The result of this highly impersonal connection is that 1) our relationship is limited to policies and procedures and 2) I find that I was more interested in pursuing my own goals and objectives for the organization than I was his. This lack of personal connection definitely had a negative impact on motivation.
3. What is one characteristic you look for in an effective leader?
I would say that the one characteristic I look for in a leader is “Incarnational Passion.” I want to follow a leader who knows me and who also lives the mission that he or she is calling me to live. In short, I want to follow a person I respect who points to a mountain and says “we are going to take that mountain or die trying” and then we climb the mountain together.
4. When have you motivated another person to better themselves or to be more productive in their job?
I was told once by one of my volunteer leaders that he saw how I ministered to young people and it made him want to do better in how he cared for them too. To me, this was a huge affirmation of my leadership. This person had seen how I live and function in ministry and, because of our connection, he was inspired to do better in his own personal ministry.
Whats even more exciting is that he followed through with that desire. He committed himself to pursue additional training and went out of his way to build relationships outside of the normal times of ministry. The additional piece of information that brings clarity to this story is that this volunteer has a full time job and a family and yet he felt inspired to move forward in ministry.
5. What is one piece of advice you’d give towards aspiring leaders?
One piece of advice for aspiring leaders. . . Fail Forward.