Approved May 2013
The Seaside United Methodist Code of Conduct describes the standard for all conduct in the Seaside community. Leaders however, are expected to be held to a higher standard. This document provides a set of guidelines and explains to all members the high standards of conduct that leaders in the Seaside United Methodist community should be held.
There are many, many people who hold leadership positions at Seaside–from the leaders of our governing body, the Church Council, to ministry groups, to the folks who plan and manage major annual events, to those responsible for general administration of the church’s property and finances. Our community depends on the drive and inspiration of the many people who populate ministry committees or project teams focused on a particular end goal. We expect anyone who takes on a leadership role to meet this higher standard of conduct.
We expect leadership by example. In Christ’s church, leadership is both defined and characterized by servant-hood. It is not an award, right, or title; it is a privilege. A leader will only retain his or her position as long as he or she acts as a leader. This means that they act with civility, respect, and trust in the ways described in the Code of Conduct. It also means that their contributions are sustained, significant, and reliable for the period that they lead. Leaders in the church should never be autocrats. Leaders in Seaside United Methodist Church can not and will not stay leaders simply because they “got there first.” Their role stems from shared recognition and respect from their team.
Respecting Seaside’s Mission, Vision and Principles
The Code of Conduct does not simply apply to leaders. It applies to leaders more. Leaders are expected to show more patience, more respect, and more civility than other members of the Seaside community. As leaders, they represent their team and, ultimately, the whole of Seaside United Methodist Church. Leaders do their best to reflect the values that Seaside stands for and the behaviors that Seaside holds as paramount. Additionally, they take care to act in accordance with Seaside and United Methodist governance principles and structures and work within these systems to make necessary change happen.
A virtuoso is judged by their actions. A leader is judged by the actions of their team. A leader in Christ’s church knows when to ask for help and when to step back. Good leaders know when not to make a decision but to delegate it to their team. The best leaders balance hard work in the community. Of course, leadership does not mean that leaders delegate unpleasant work to others. Instead, leaders balance hard work on their own — leadership by example — with delegation to others who work hard on their own. A leader’s foremost goal is ensuring that their team members and team succeed.
A good leader does not seek the limelight but aims to congratulate their team for the work they do. While leaders are frequently more visible than their team, leaders in Seaside use their visibility to highlight the great work of their team members and others.
Conflicts of Interest
A leader notices when they are conflicted and delegates decisions to others on their team or to other teams or governing councils. When in doubt, leaders publicly ask for a second opinion. They realize that perceived conflicts of interest are as important as real conflicts of interest and are cognizant of perceptions; they understand that their actions are as tainted by perceived conflicts as by real ones.
Keeping the Personal Personal
No team is an extension of its leader’s personality. Sometimes a leader’s personal feelings and desires will diverge from the interest of their teams. When acting in their capacity as leaders, leaders should not ignore their own beliefs, feelings, and principles but must hold the interests of their team and the Seaside UMC community above their own convictions. Leaders make difficult choices but are careful to act in the best interests of the whole church and the witness of Christ. If a leader finds that he/she cannot lay personal issues aside in a given situation, they work with established processes in the community and delegate decisions to others who can.
The Seaside United Methodist Church Code of Conduct discusses the importance of gracefully stepping down from a position. This is particularly important for leaders who are responsible for decisions or specific responsibilities. If someone in a leadership role does not have time to fulfill their role temporarily, they should warn their team in advance. If an absence becomes extended, they should step down from their leadership position until they have more time to follow through. Similarly, leaders should step down gracefully — as described in the Code of Conduct. When someone takes on a leadership position in Seaside, they are making a commitment to step down gracefully and to ensure that others on the team can easily continue where they leave off.
Note that this is less important in cases where the leadership role does not “block” decisions while the person is absent. Conversely, if your leadership seat is essential for decisions, then extended absences should be very carefully managed, and you should consider stepping down or at least nominating a stand-in while you will be away.