Leading From Behind the Bar

We’ve all been to a place where we felt comfortable; to a place where the atmosphere was engaging;…
Michael TrentWe’ve all been to a place where we felt comfortable; to a place where the atmosphere was engaging;  and to a place we could call our own and return to time and time again.
Over the past few decades, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to help create environments where people find their place.  Sometimes that place is about where they are to be connected to others; and sometimes that place is about where they are to give of and invest their life as they discover the gifts, talents, and purpose for which they were designed.
After planning and designing an environment as part of ‘preparing a place’, I spend time in training and coaching people on how to ‘lead from behind the bar’.
Leading from behind the bar is about serving as pastor through one of the most amazing areas in any church.  I often call it Cafe Pastor, Venue Pastor, or even Campus Pastor, depending upon the context…and once upon a time, while serving in that role, it began to be called, the Church Bartender.  In order serve as the pastor of a cafe (much different than a cafe being in a pastor’s portfolio) – you must be aware of and put into practice these simple yet paramount characteristics of #strangeleadership
When leading (which is serving) from behind the bar, consider your:

Positioning:  of your heart, knowing why you are there; of your head, having an awareness of your surroundings before people enter; and of your body to best be able to access your serving tools and the people you serve.

Peripheral vision:  your positioning in an environment should be one that allows you to have a good view of who and what is going on around you.  We’ve all been to a place where it felt like the person serving us forgot we were even there.  Peripheral vision will provide a big picture and a context.
Posture:  your body language can often speak louder than your words.  No matter what statistic you read, the truth is, the majority of how we communicate is through our non-verbals (and that does not include technology…please don’t miss that).  How you sit, lean, stand, or walk can say a lot more than you might think; so keep that in mind and I promise people won’t mind.
Perspective: Keeping open ears and an open heart, you’ll find moments of seriousness, of laughter, of sympathy, even of empathy; moments both heavy and light where you can find some of the greatest and most authentic connections. My suggestion, especially when you quickly pick up a negative vibe…is to always side with keeping the ‘glass half full’ (or even higher in each conversation).
Pronunciation: Next time you hear someone lacking pronunciation, see if there doesn’t also seem to be a disconnection to the present.  Maybe that sounds like a strange leadership lesson?  As we find ourselves mentally and physical communicating through so many ‘shortcut’ version of communication, it is sad and surprising how something this simple is being effected.  One of the best ways to focus on pronunciation is to focus on the person you’re talking to, be there, not somewhere else.
Perception:  so much here could be said, let’s just say it’s about my concern for the lost art of listening.  Take time to listen to what people are sharing; and always remember, that everyone has a history, a story, and a future.
and Pour Carefully:  no matter if you are a cafe pastor, lead pastor, leader in your business, leader in your home, you get the point…our lives are constantly being poured out into the lives of others, let us take that to heart, consider it with our minds, and pour carefully through our actions.
Michael Trent
Founder & Idea Engineer
Third Place Consulting
twitter:  @ChurchBartender