Apart of great discipline and esprit de corps, in WW II, the Germans had a ‘secret’ weapon from the very beginning of the war, namely their Auftragstaktik philosophy, as the base doctrine explained in the Wehrmacht manuals as a blended strategic coherence and decentralized decision making with a simple principle: Commanders were to tell subordinates what their goal is, but not how to achieve it. It has been loosely translated as “mission command”. Clarifying it further, it essentially means that from the lowest soldier to the highest officer it is expected they will act improvising, according to the situation in the war theater. This is not the way most people think of the German army.
The Auftragstaktik doctrine is the reason for a great number of the Wehrmackt’s spectacular victories, not only when they were winning but also when they were retreating. [Bold emphasis added.]
Leaders need the ability to make decisions. This is not just a personality issue or willingness issue. It is an institutional issue. Any organization, but especially churches, need to give lay and pastoral staff leaders the freedom to make decisions, to improvise when plans need to be adjusted by the need of the moment.
When Sunday School workers have to check with higher ups for every little decision in the classroom, when pastors are handcuffed from saying anything in the pulpit that has not been vetted by staff, when office personnel must refer all facility questions to someone else, the “mission command” principle is violated. Make sure that in the design of your church’s decision structure, people are given the freedom to get the job done. Give a job description and let good people figure out HOW to get it done. Trust your people. Trust the Holy Spirit. Get out of good people’s way and watch what God does.
Make sure that in the design of your church’s decision structure, people are given the freedom to get the job done. Give them a job description and let good people figure out HOW to get that job description done. Trust your people. Trust the Holy Spirit. Get out of good people’s way and watch what God does.