Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes. Peter Drucker
While I do not completely agree with everything Mr. Drucker says, there is something to be learned in this thought. Leadership is often associated with leading from the front. It is also fairly common for leaders to desire pleasing everyone.
Decisions are often challenging because of dealing with the fallout from those who may be unfavorable to the decision.
Leaders are too often more concerned with finding favor with man than with God! This is a grave mistake.
Since God gives the increase and defines the growth, we need to make sure our actions are laying the groundwork for the results He provides.
If we spend our time trying to please everyone around us, if we are striving to be liked or receive approval from the majority, our leadership will suffer and so will God’s kingdom.
Use the standard of God’s word, be decisive, and put the gainsayers in God’s hands. Lead as God would desire in leadership. He will take care of the rest.
Does this sound familiar? It should, but how does this connect to leadership?
We need to know our strengths and weaknesses. A fairly common thought in leadership is connected to these two areas. Leaders generally identify the need to spend 80% of our time on our strengths and 20% on our weaknesses.
Wait! Should this not be the opposite? We need to understand that when we spend the majority of our time on our weaknesses, they may get stronger, but our strengths get weaker because we have not kept them sharp.
The basic idea is to spend the majority of our time continually working on our strengths, keeping them strong and growing. Then, find others who are strong in the areas we are weak and use their strengths to fill the gaps.
The challenge we face as leaders is learning to determine our strengths and weaknesses. We can take aptitude tests. We can ask an evaluation from others close to us. We can learn through trial and error.
However we make the determination, know yourself, work on the appropriate areas and build a team to help the rest.
In this series on Paul’s leadership, we have seen several areas of Paul’s life that made him a great Bible leader.
There are three more areas that created this powerful leadership.
Confidence: Paul’s confidence was not based in himself, but Jesus and what Christ had done for Him. It is significant to note Paul’s expressed confidence in others, like the Corinthians and Philemon.
Disciplined: Perhaps the most well known use of discipline is found in 1 Corinthians 9. Paul’s purpose in speaking about discipline was to ensure the message of the gospel aligned perfectly with the example of his life, a testimony of consistency.
Faithful: Christ considered Paul faithful, putting him into the ministry. Even though his past was one of blasphemy, persecution, and violence toward the church, the Lord could see something greater.
Paul exemplifies many qualities needed for leadership. Our confidence should also be in Christ, not ourselves. We should discipline our physical lives to be consistent with our spiritual message. Leaders should always be faithful to the gospel charge.
If we do so, God will use us in powerful ways to make a difference. He can see something greater. Think Souls!
Accountability brings a number of thoughts to mind regarding leadership. We know we are going to give an account, but what exactly does this word involve for spiritual leadership?
There is the implication of what is required. As spiritual leaders, certain requirements could be listed. We are required to be trustworthy, faithful, examples, and people of integrity, just to name a few.
There are certain expectations. An expectation seems to add a new level in spiritual leadership. People tend to arise to what is expected of them. If little is expected, little is received. If more is expected, more is received. When leaders make decisions, there is an expectation of accountability.
There is an understanding of responsibility. If leaders are going to give an account for their decisions and actions, there is a level of responsibility connected to those decisions and actions.
We will all be held accountable for our words and deeds in this life, both good and bad. How much more so will leaders answer to God for the direction of their leadership of God’s people?
Over the years I have taken many pictures; pictures of the kids as they were growing up, pictures of the grandkids as they are growing up now, people and places all over the world. I am constantly amazed at all the details (most of which I know very little about) needed for the perfect picture.
I have looked at many photos by others and think, “How beautiful.” At times I look at a picture and think, “It’s perfect.”
We tend to know something is just right when we see it.
How does our spiritual leadership look? Is it picture perfect?
When others look at our leadership do they see something beautiful?
Perhaps the question we need to ask is how can we know if our leadership is picture perfect?
There is a mirror into which we can look for the answer to our questions. God’s word is the mirror, the perfect law of liberty.
When we take our leadership and examine it within God’s word, we will discover the standard wherein our leadership must be measured.
To be picture perfect, we will need to look deeply and make application.
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” Calvin Coolidge
Leadership can be very interesting. There are numerous thoughts that come to mind about the leadership of others and our own.
The Western mindset generally leans more toward what can be received. After all; “what’s in it for me?”
True leadership and honor are connected to what leaders give.
Leadership must be based on the giving of self. When we give ourselves to the task of leading others, then the spiritual outcome saves souls.
We need leaders. We need spiritual leaders to lead. Will we give ourselves to leading others today?
This is where honor is rewarded.
We have discussed on several occasions the various ways we look at and define our leadership. I also realize there are numerous leadership styles and activities that characterize leadership.
When I considered the descriptions identified with the activities of leadership, a thought came to me that seems to flow well with the direction of our purpose as spiritual leaders.
A channel is defined as the conduit or path through which something flows. A channel of blessings, associated with our leadership, indicates the path or conduit through which others are blessed by our leadership.
As spiritual leaders, we need to know others rely upon the leadership we provide to help them enjoy the assurance of their destination.
We need to give hope, not despair.
We should offer possibility, not defeatism.
We build others up through promise, not degradation.
Scripture teaches us to bless our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. If we are to bless our enemies, does it not make sense that those who are striving to serve the Lord, who listen to us speak, deserve even better?