Maybe you've taken on new responsibility at work, or began to take on a leadership role of a ministry in the local church. Maybe you've been a seasoned leader for many years. Maybe you have just become a follower of Jesus and realise you need to learn how to lead.
In recent days I've been thinking about important, yet simple leadership development principles that we often miss (especially when we are starting a leadership journey).
I have some really sound, yet simple advice. I want to help you be a better leader.
If you're going to be in a leadership position, then you need to act like a leader. Let me explain:
Leaders draw others around them
If you are making the transition into an area of responsibility, you have to understand, your job is not to do everything. You job is to build leaders so that together you can achieve the vision in front of you.
I have seen too many new leaders, who don't lead. Some leaders run around busy, photocopying, buying things, coordinating activities, and forget the other aspects of leadership: drawing together a team, articulating what goals they want to achieve and focusing on reaching the vision before them.
Stop for a moment, and begin to think like a leader, not simply a busy volunteer. What would you do differently, if you were to lead effectively right now? How can you draw others around you to be more effective as a leader?
Set some goals
Take a few moments. Grab a piece of paper and set some goals. If you aim at nothing you'll reach it every time. I've been challenged recently to set SMART goals: Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. You may well be running a business and having a quick speed read of this. Honestly, have you set some goals? Do you know what you seek to achieve in 2019?
Some of my goals in the past, have not always been that realistic. I’ve learnt to set SMART goals. I want them to be specific. I want them to be measurable. I want them to be achievable. I want them to be realistic and I want them to have a specific time-frame in mind.
Leaders set smart goals.
This is important. If you have a vague goal in your head at the start of 2019, you'll only have a vague idea at the end of the year on whether you've reached the vagueness.
Turn a goal like: "Have a great Children's ministry," to something like, "Build at least 20 young disciples, who choose to follow Jesus by December 31st, 2020."
Leadership and servant-hood go hand-in-hand
It's best expressed by Jesus, when he washed the disciples feet (John chapter 13). We see servant leadership epitomised by Jesus.
Leaders are willing to go the extra mile. Leaders are willing to stay right til the end. Leaders are willing to serve in whatever capacity is needed to get the job done. Servanthood is a must. It doesn't mean you do everything, because your role is also to empower and equip others to express servant-hood alongside you, but leaders have a servant heart and a servant attitude.
Have a clear vision of why you're leading
I want to mobilise an army to change the world. I have that stamped upon my heart. It drives me from day to day. It gets me up in the morning. It keeps me awake at night. Leadership is about understanding where you're heading and inspiring others to come with you. As a follower of Jesus and a Salvation Army Officer, my goal is to lead people, ultimately to Jesus.
And so with that in mind, irrespective of leadership position, you can be a leader. You can lead people to the Lord.
So, develop some clarity. Why are you working where you're working? What are you trying to achieve? What's the big why? Why are you doing what you're doing?
Clarity helps you say no to the many demands of leadership. Clarity helps you stay focused on what matters most.
Don't let your competency outstrip your character
Keeping your character in check is important. I always come back to the fruits of the spirit (Galatians chapter 5, verse 22). Am I expressing unconditional love? Am I joyful? Am I self-controlled?
Some people let power corrupt them, and they end up being more competent than they are controlled. They become arrogant and self-seeking. They forget that the ideals of compassion and common-decency got them to where they are in the first place. Most leaders I know would always choose character over competency, but ideally, a leader has both.
This is naturally one blog post. There's so many more leadership development principles to consider. So I'm interested to hear from you. What leadership development principles do you think are most important?
Pete Brookshaw is the Senior Minister of The Salvation Army Craigieburn. He has a Bachelor of both Business and Theology and is passionate about the church being dynamic and effective in the world and creating communities of faith that are outward-focused, innovative, passionate about the lost and committed to societal change. He has been blogging since 2006 at http://www.petebrookshaw.com about leadership and faith and you can find him on:
Peter Brookshaw’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/peter-brookshaw.html