You’re a tech person. You know how to get stuff done. Chances are you are super competent at some aspect of production: you’re an amazing audio engineer; you crush video editing; you can shine light in people’s eyes like nobody’s business. 

And because you’ve been good at a piece of the whole production, it makes sense that you might get promoted to lead the entire production team. Unfortunately for you, the only thing you really know about leading a production team is how you would have done it differently from your last boss. You also know how to do your old job really well. 

Both of these perspectives are not bad to have, but they fall far short of what is required to lead a production team.


This was one of the more difficult parts for me about becoming a leader. I was a really good audio engineer. Stuff sounded awesome when I was behind the console. When I had to move into more of a leadership role and hire someone else to mix audio, I realized how much I loved it and that I didn’t like it when someone else mixed. (Looking back, I was probably deriving too much of my significance from my killer mix.)

When you start leading people, you have to let go of the specific tasks that you used to love to do. The whole point of having a team is to increase the capacity of your department, which means you need to stop doing and let someone else take over. However, someone forgot to tell me that  those tasks I was so good at weren’t getting done exactly the way I would do them. I found myself butting in all the time, or redoing something when people weren’t looking. 

After banging my head against this wall for a while, I asked myself, “Is the new person’s mix wrong, or just not my preference?” I realized that I needed to give that new person some space to learn and grow and make that task their own, without imposing my way of doing it on them. 

I also realized that I needed this person to succeed. I was already buried by the workload, and I knew that if I drove him away, I would not survive myself. Maybe the mix wasn’t so bad after all. I owed it to myself to back off. I owed it to my family to back off. And most importantly, I owed it to my team member to back off. 

Remember when I said our only experience in leading was just not doing it the way my boss leads me? How many of us have had bosses who were always in our business and not letting us make our own decisions? How many times did we wish they would just give us some space and some actual decision making power? If you aren’t letting go of your favorite tasks so that others can do them, you are just like your boss. 

Learning to let go is one of the first challenges to overcome when you start leading people. Then learning the difference between your preference and something being wrong is also a key factor when letting go. It will definitely not be done the way you did it, but that doesn’t automatically make it wrong. 

This whole letting go conundrum is just the beginning of figuring out what it means to lead a team.


Up until this point, you’ve been the “get it done” person. Your job has been to figure out the “how” of most situations. As you start to delegate and lead others, it is important to shift your thinking away from the exact way something will be accomplished and to think at a higher level. The whole idea of leading a team is to empower them to figure stuff out within their sphere of responsibility. This is one step beyond letting go, this is empowering someone to take it to the next level. 

What was once you doing everything, now you’ve got a team maximizing each area, bringing their personalities and skills to the table. With all the extra work getting done comes the reality that while each person is bringing their best to the table, and each individual has a different idea of what should be done. With all those different ideas, it is important for someone to provide a framework for everyone to work inside of. This is less about the details of each person’s job and more about the direction everyone needs to take together. 

Honestly, this was another one of the more difficult parts about becoming a leader for me. I was so used to doing the tasks, that I didn’t really know what it meant to think beyond that. What my team needed was an overarching mission and values that helped us make decisions for the overall direction of production. We needed some guardrails to determine what was inbounds and what was out of bounds; a road map of where we were going, and more importantly where we weren’t going. 

As I began working with my team on what those guardrails should be, we developed some statements that helped to inform the decisions we each had to make in a given situation. Statements that didn’t tell us what to do specifically, but why we do it. 

While we borrowed ideas from different churches and different production environments, it was important that we developed something that was true to our team and our church. Here are a few such statements that could be a starting point for your journey towards developing your own:

People over product; excellence = doing the best with what you have; be prepared; seek to understand; safety second (or the no dying rule); how does this advance the church’s mission?, etc

There are many different ways to set up guide posts for you and your team to follow, without needing to be micromanaged. 

This is work that feels unimportant when there are so many other urgent tasks to accomplish. However, if you don’t spend the time now, in the long run there will be a bottleneck on what your team can accomplish. 

In the story of your leadership journey, making the leap from doing tasks to leading people will be defined by how willing you are to let go and to develop a framework for the why of  production, not just the how. 


As a production person, I was so used to being led, to having someone point the way. What are we doing? When is it due? Why are we doing it? Once I became the leader of a team, I realized that I was that person. I needed to answer all those questions for my own people. That wasn’t quite enough of a realization at first. It took me even longer to figure out that if I didn’t lead them, no one else was going to. At least not in the way production people need to be led. 

As a production person, you know what it takes to do the work. You know when something could be better. You understand the difference between an unexpected gear failure and operator laziness. You know when someone on the team knocks it out of the park. No other leader understands your team like you do. So if they are to be led, it’s up to you. 

I spent a bunch of my time as a tech person feeling like nobody understood me: what I did, how I spent my time, what was really involved in pulling off the impossible each week. The people on your team might possibly feel the same way. As their leader, you know what it is like to be in their shoes unlike anyone else at your church. Step into the role of leader with the confidence that you can help bridge the gap between your team and the church. Not only helping others understand what your team does, but helping your team understand more what the church is about.

For your team to take the next step, it is important for you to step fully into your leadership role. Let go of the tasks you were so good at and let others bring themselves to those jobs. Develop a framework to help your team understand the why behind the tasks they’re performing. Lead.


Our Leadership Breakouts at FILO 2023 can help you hone your leadership skills, check out the lineup of leadership breakout teachers that will be joining us this year.  Don’t forget to sign up to join us for FILO 2023 on May 2-3!

Picture of Todd Elliott

Todd Elliott

Todd is a writer, speaker, technical artist in the local church and founder of FILO.

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MAY 6-7, 2025