The Gallup Q12 and Church Lay Leaders, Pastors and Sunday School Teachers

Are those you lead engaged? Truly, consistently, meaningfully engaged?

That’s the single central issue behind the most significant organizational study that’s ever been conducted. And, while it initially was targeted to employees, the same principles have been successfully applied to members of churches and small groups. It’s the Gallup organization’s Q12.

For the Gallup Q12, engagement is everything. (I’ve included multiple references at the end of this post both in support of the points I’m making here and to help you further your own research.)

For over 30 years, the Gallup organization has been studying how workers connect with their organizations and, more specifically, what factors lead to employee engagement, a critical factor in employee and organizational success.

The Q12

The Q12 refers to 12 key statements. (They originated as survey questions, thus the Q.) To over-simplify, the more that employees in any given organization are likely to agree with the statements, the more engaged and effective they are, and, by extension, the more successful the organization or company.

The Gallup Q12, then, is as follows:

Q1: I know what is expected of me at work.
Q2: I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
Q3: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
Q4: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
Q5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
Q6: There is someone at work who encourages my development. Copyright
Q7: At work, my opinions seem to count.
Q8: The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
Q9: My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
Q10: I have a best friend at work.
Q11.  In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
Q12.  This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The idea is this: The more workers in an organization affirm those 12 statements, the more likely they are to be actively engaged, and therefore fulfilled, happy and productive.

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For leaders, one of the most important conclusions of the Gallup Study is paraphrased as: Effective workers don’t leave companies, they leave managers.

Good people don’t leave work, they leave their boss.

In short, the effectiveness of the leader in any organization is most predictive of that organization’s ability to hold onto its best people.

The question that begs for church leaders is: Does that same postulate apply to our churches? In short, can it be said that people leave pastors not churches? Sunday School members leave teachers and not Sunday School classes? Small group members leave small group leaders and not small groups?

We know what we would like to be true. We’d like to think our people join our church-based organizations because they sense a call of God and commit to serve for the long haul. That is the Biblical ideal. However, that may be a naïve leadership approach.

But if the Gallup Q12 can be extended to our churches, it creates greater emphasis on pastors, lay leaders, teachers and small group leaders focusing on their roles as leaders, putting leadership up there with calling, counseling, Bible study, teaching, etc. as worthy pursuits of the minister.

More to come…


First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

12: The Elements of Great Managing

Gallup Q12 Meta Analysis

Gallup Q12 Slide Share


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