8 Qualities of Successful Leaders in a Multisite Organization

Businesspeople on meeting in officeIf there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few years of creating multiple churches, it’s that great leadership at both the local church level and the multisite level is paramount. Your multisite leadership team should include leaders who support all of the churches, and leaders who support and work at one of the churches.

For multisite to work we all have to believe that we are better together. And even though the communication might be cumbersome at times, we believe that it’s worth the effort because every new idea has the benefit of a broad range of great thinkers and creative input. But leveraging those kinds of ideas for the greater good of the organization takes a special kind of leader.

Here are the top 8 qualities:

1. They are willing to do what it takes to make something excellent.

Hard work and above-and-beyond effort are required of the leaders who work on a multisite team. You are invited to give input when everyone believes that you’re committed to making it the best it can be.

2. They value the differences in people.

In order to get the best ideas on the table and execute in multiple locations, you have to hear from creatives, and budgeters, and project managers, and writers, and designers, and organizers, and detailists. You also have to value the different strengths, leadership styles and personality types that are around the table. Remember, together we’re better.

3. They are openhanded with their ideas.

Occasionally we run across leaders on our team who don’t want to share their ideas. They want their church location to win without giving much thought to who loses. There’s a sense of not-so-healthy competition. The most successful leaders I know leverage their best work for the greater good of everyone. They feel a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that everyone is benefiting from their ideas.

4. They give honest feedback easily.

Open and honest feedback that is given quickly and without personal attack is what makes the multisite team a powerhouse for excellence. Set up a weekly meeting where everyone can give feedback. Act on the feedback and make changes. Make improvements quickly. Don’t allow the fact that you are multisite slow down your ability to solve problems quickly and make changes on the go when needed.

5. They are willing to change their mind.

When you are working with a multisite team you are working with a room full of leaders. They walk into a meeting with a plan. They aren’t waiting for someone else to make the call and they are moving forward. It’s important for leaders on multisite teams to ask great questions, listen well, and be confident enough to change their minds when better information and ideas present themselves.

6. They are willing to speak up.

A multisite team can be an intimidating team. It’s usually filled with passionate opinions and strong thinking. It’s important that everyone speaks up when you’re in the meeting and making decisions. Nothing frustrates the team faster than a leader who won’t voice their concerns or new ideas, but goes back to their church location and implements something completely different than the team discussed.

7. They are healthy and secure.

On any multisite team there will be tension. Leaders will fail to communicate important details. You will be asked to give up something you want. You will have to stop worrying about who gets the credit and you will have to give up control. Ultimately you will have to choose to trust the motives of your teammates. Healthy, growing leaders will make mistakes in many of these areas, but they will make it right and move on.

8. They lead from influence and not authority.

True leadership is always about influence and this is especially true when you are a multisite leader. You will lead many meetings where you are not the actual boss of the team you are leading. You must authentically develop the character that gives you influence. There are so many aspects to this, but a good place to start is by focusing on building healthy relationships, and building trust through your words, motives and actions.

Real Time: I was a part of several multisite meetings just last week. They were full of tension, heated debate, important feedback, problem solving, amazing creativity, and some pretty awesome ideas. They were also stressful, invigorating, productive, frustrating, and fun. Most of all they were led by people who are committed to the common purpose of creating churches that unchurched people love to attend. Whatever it takes.

What makes your multisite team great? What do you need to work on?


  1. Jeremy Drew says:

    Great insight Kendra! Totally agree that multi site leaders need to commit to the larger plan and strive for excellence across the organization, not just locally. I also love the value of giving feedback, that is even more valuable when there’s so many more players in the game.

  2. Kevin Litton says:

    Some great insights and reminders. We have been Multisite for 2 years now and will open up site number 3 this fall. I think many of these ideas are often thought of for the newer locations, but really it’s so good to be reminded that even at the original location, these qualities are also necessary. Thanks!

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