Three things to keep in mind before you promote your graphic designer to communications director

  1. Try before you buy. Don't inflate title or role responsibilities until they get a chance to develop some professional skills and start operating as if they already had the role. Too many churches put people in inflated roles (or titles) before the person, or the organization, has a chance to even test the fit. It doesn't set either party up for the win. 
  2. Let them grow into it. As they start to “practice” operating in a new capacity, the first step in added responsibility isn’t instant authority but a demonstrated change in focus (i.e., from day to day project thinking to more big picture strategy and process thinking). A true director role has a team to lead, not just projects. So, resist the temptation to skip steps on the professional development path from specialist to director. 
  3. Be aware of the tension. Many times, the comms person fills two roles at once; a doer and a facilitator. While they need to get stuff done, they also need to develop others around them so they can move towards championing a bigger conversation that aligns systems and unifies teams. It is possible to do both, but not at the same time. Make sure you’re coaching your “comms person” to manage a split between the two different disciplines. Help ask the big picture questions to keep them working on strategy tools alongside individual projects. Without this advocacy and clarity, calendar deadlines will drive activity that suffocates overarching values and effectiveness.