This I Have Learned: There’s No Need to ‘Mike-ro-manage’

Michael J. Readinger

Michael J. Readinger

CHHSM President and CEO Michael J. Readinger was featured in the inaugural “This I Have Learned’ column in the bi-monthly magazine of LeadingAge, an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to expanding the world of possibilities for aging.

In the 18 months that I have been called to my position as president/CEO of our small faith-based association, I have learned a couple of pretty important leadership lessons. I have learned to trust my instincts, to trust the guidance I receive from my faith, and most importantly, to listen to others and gain from the collective wisdom they impart, especially from my core staff team.

In the months leading up to and immediately after my call to lead CHHSM, I was often deep in the weeds where I had no real reason to spend my time. My small team is highly competent, creative and resourceful. Yet time and again, I found myself uncontrollably asking pointless and useless questions that were a distraction to their work and an impediment to my ability to lead the organization.

I finally saw the light one day at a staff meeting when my team coined the phrase “Mike-ro-manage.”

Ouch! I did not realize I was doing it. I did not realize the impact it was having. I did not know how to stop doing it until that day. Let me assure you, it has been a liberating experience for all of us now that I have let go of my insecurities and learned to trust the expertise of those who bless our ministry!

The second part of that lesson is that you should not take yourself too seriously. We all laughed at this new management term that has become a part of our lives at CHHSM. Anytime I start to go down that road, they remind me to leave it alone. Occasionally I even get to remind them that they are empowered to make important and significant decisions in their capacity as co-leaders of our organization.

Now I am allowing myself to soar at the 30,000-foot level and focus on mission, vison and values. I spend my days strategically and in engaging our membership and board. So, my friends, don’t take yourself too seriously, trust your team, and watch your ministry soar!

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CHHSM Board and Staff are grieved to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, Greg Watson, who died in October 2022. Greg was vice president of operations for Embrace Living Communities, based in Oak Brook, Ill.Greg was a graduate of CHHSM’s Nollau Leadership Institute, class of 2018-2019, and was consecrated as a Diakonal Minister during our 2019 Annual Gathering in Chicago. In an article about his class in June 2018 — not long after the group’s first retreat — Greg said, “The best part is not only beginning the process of clarifying your calling; but also, understanding and accepting one’s personal strength. Recognition of one’s ‘true' self enables us to serve from a place of wholeness.”Greg also served on the CHHSM Board of Directors, and was a beloved friend and colleague to many in the CHHSM family. Embrace Living stated on its website, “Greg was an outstanding servant leader for 17 years at Embrace Living Communities. He will be greatly missed.”CHHSM sends its prayers and love to Greg’s friends, family, and Embrace Living colleagues. ... See MoreSee Less
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