I am fascinated by different leaders. People who have the ability to lead groups, organizations, churches, and movements make me feel awed simply by listening or reading their thoughts and feelings. While I would never begin to assume myself to be a “Leadership Expert,” my years in ministry have helped me to learn some great lessons that I hope will encourage and challenge others. So, here are four qualities of leadership that cannot be ignored.
• Leadership must be empowering, not burdensome.
As a leader, the more your organization grows the less you are able to control hands on. Those are the moments that you must empower others to use their gifts and their skill set to lead in a hand on way. I have learned that my main gift set is really in three areas: communicating the word, casting a vision, and mentoring leaders. However, for me to operate in those three areas, I need to be secure enough in myself and in the leaders around me to buy into the vision, live the vision, and pass the vision on to the rest of the organization. When we empower instead of burden we get greater buy-in to the vision and great effectiveness from people’s gifts.
• Leadership must be inspiring.
My main role in leading must be to cast a vision large enough to challenge people but focused enough not to overwhelm. One of the main issues in the American church today is that we want to do everything. We must inspire the church to understand what God has called us to do and what God has not called us to do. In doing this we are able to inspire people to do the work that God has called us to in a manner that does not deflate their energy or destroy their desire to serve. We must constantly remind ourselves and the church that our goal is eternal and our work has eternal rewards that are not always readily visible today.
• Leadership must be communicative.
Leaders cannot be isolated. However, we also cannot meet everyone’s need at every moment. Leaders must design the proper context for communication and then intentionally communicate. If we as leaders don’t communicate with purpose we become distant and unapproachable. I love having “stand-up” communication with people to discuss their dreams, their visions and their passions as it relates to the dreams the vision and the passion of the church.
• Leadership must be supportive.
As leaders we must know that someone will always be opposed to what we are doing no matter how much it is succeeding. As a senior leader, I must be willing to support the staff and lay leaders of the church in the face of gossip, complaints and discontent. I also must be willing to confront boldly areas of sin, gossip or discontent on the staff level and make sure that the staff is doing the ministry of the church in a biblical manner.
When we consciously and consistently make leadership empowering, inspiring, communicative and supportive we find ourselves hitting the sweet spot of ministry. When we are not operating in this way we find ourselves defensive, micromanaging, territorial and insecure.
What are your leadership lessons?