Posts Tagged ‘performance’


The Results Are In: Top Five Most important Rabbi-Board Evaluation Criteria

Posted on: June 22nd, 2012 by Hayim Herring

Thanks to all of those who responded to the two questions about evaluation that I asked in my prior post:

And the results are in!

The Results Are In: Top Five Most important Rabbi-Board Evaluation Criteria
survey results


Thirty-seven people responded to the first question. While I don’t have any background information on those who responded, here’s how you answered (in rank order):

  1. Develop and communicate a vision
  2. Build, inspire and lead a staff – volunteer team
  3. Identify, develop and support lay leaders
  4. Promote and lead spiritual formation for church (synagogue) members
  5. Interpret and lead change.

And for the second question about the existence of rabbi-board evaluation, to which 36 of you responded:

Clearly, more context is needed to interpret these responses. But, here are a few observations from this non-scientific survey.

Respondents value the leadership qualities that one expects of all leaders: visioning, building a team, supporting volunteer and professional talent and leading change. Unsurprisingly, helping people develop their spiritual lives also ranked within the top five criteria. Taken together, these criteria suggest that a 21st-century rabbi needs sound working leadership knowledge and ability in general, and specific expertise in helping people develop their spiritual lives. No surprises here.

But what was equally interesting to me are the criteria that ranked lower, like managing conflict. How do you lead change (ranked high) unless you know how to manage conflict? Another example: rabbis work exceedingly demanding hours and they are poor health insurance risks because of job stress and lack of self-care. However, respondents ranked rabbinic self-care as relatively unimportant for evaluation purposes. Finally, while congregations complain of declining membership, those who responded ranked congregational outreach near the bottom of the list. That may be because the phrase “mission outpost” is not synagogue nomenclature and was therefore misunderstood. But my guess is that even if it were phrased differently, outreach would still not rank within the top five criteria, because reaching out to the broader Jewish community is not something in which many congregations invest resources.

Moving onto the second question, approximately 60% of respondents reported that there is no evaluation for the board. And, about 30% said that evaluation is simply off the radarscope for the board and the rabbi. Both of these responses are problematic because having an evaluation means that there is at least some implicit vision of what constitutes success. When there is no understanding of success, that’s when misunderstanding about roles, expectations and responsibilities emerge.

I am inclined to do more research based on the feedback that you’ve provided and will keep you updated. Thanks, again, for your input!

Rabbi Hayim herring


Fresh Views on Evaluating Rabbinic and Congregational Performance

Posted on: June 13th, 2012 by Hayim Herring
Fresh Views on Evaluating Rabbinic and Congregational Performance

Photo: vancajay, on stock.xchng

I’m currently reading a book entitled, When Better Isn’t Enough. Evaluation Tools for the 21st-Century Church. The author is Jill M. Hudson and the publisher is The Alban Institute. The title is a bit of a misnomer and could more accurately be, Performance Evaluation for the 21st-Century Church. New Criteria for Ministers and Church Leaders. But with a title like that, why would ministers be interested in reading the book? After all, as all members of the clergy know from often-poor experience, performance evaluation, review, or whatever you wish to call it falls under the rubric of, “Never put off today what you can put off forever.”

Hudson lays out 12 criteria for evaluation. They are, the ability to:

Look at these questions! They reflect a vision of ideal attributes of a 21st-Century church. Hudson’s insight is that most evaluations are still rooted in the needs of a 20th century church and her book is about guiding lay leaders and clergy to work collaboratively on assessing their joint performance based on new criteria that better reflect the work of today’s church.

Hudson’s insight is true for the Jewish community as well. From what I’ve seen and heard, most synagogue evaluations are also stuck in a bygone era. Over the next year, my hope is to conduct some research on how congregations evaluate rabbis. I can use your help as I begin to explore this topic and would love you to respond to the questions in my Evaluating Rabbinic and Congregational Performance Survey.

Take the survey >>.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Rabbi Hayim Herring