As a noun, a project is an individual or collaborative enterprise carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim.
As a verb, the idea is described as estimating or forecasting something on the basis of present trends, as well as, the force of moving something forward or outward.
Leadership perspective relates to both the noun and verb. Leaders are working in the area of an enterprise that must be carefully planned and designed. The type of planning and design we are talking about involves a strategy for seeking and saving the lost, and keeping the saved, saved. Often a cliché, we need to give serious thought to the project if we ever hope to achieve the aim.
The activity of leadership is also the needed force to influence others in a way that moves them forward and outward. The danger of moving backwards or standing still results in ultimate death of the project (noun). Leaders who know how to provide this kind of influence will always exude an example worth following.
Let us always project what we want to achieve in each project.
Of all the qualities and characteristics ascribed to leadership, there is one person who provided us with information to guide our climb up the leadership mountain. For the next few weeks we want to examine these steps.
The first step is really a step down: “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Leaders begin the climb with a step of humility, an emptying process of self. The idea is one of destitution, poverty, or an emptiness that forces one to look up to the one who can fill them with purpose, direction, and fulfillment.
When the quality of humility is seen by others, there is a genuineness that exists in the character of the individual that draws others to follow and emulate.
Developing this poverty in spirit is easier said than done. Recognizing who we are (and perhaps who we are not) and the need for complete dependency on God is a beginning point.
Once we stop working to make things happen on our own and trust God’s sovereign control, then we are taking the first step up the leadership mountain.
“The future is not a place we get to go, it’s a place we get to create.” Nancy Duarte
The direction of this thought takes numerous paths and the majority of them carry significant weight.
At some point in time, we all experience the uncertainty of the future. Perhaps a crystal ball would be nice to have on those occasions, but maybe not.
Considering the future as something we get to create changes everything about how we view the future. We can never know with certainty the unpredictability of events associated with tomorrow, next week, or next year, let alone five and ten years from now. We can, however, establish goals and make plans we get to create as each day unfolds.
Imagine the nature of our approach to leadership when we create a future that others are excited to participate in creating.
Working together enables us to build momentum that strengthens growth and development. When we relate this to the church, the magnitude of what can be paints a picture of the future that others desire to share. Now that is a place worth creating.
Businesses generally offer a raincheck for out-of-stock merchandise that is “on sale.” This process allows customers an opportunity to buy the merchandise at the sale price when restocked.
The benefit of this process builds loyalty between the customer and business.
Loyalty is one of the most vital characteristics of leadership. Leaders must be loyal to those they influence, but how do we build the kind of loyalty needed in leadership?
1. Demonstrate trust: The trust we have in God must be exemplified in our service. We must also learn to trust in others. Perhaps this is why Solomon taught of its importance.
2. Develop consistency and integrity: The decisions we make in leadership must be made on a standard of consistency and integrity. Without them, loyalty will be impossible.
3. Dedicate the heart: Dedication involves the highest level of commitment. We must be dedicated to God, others, and reaching the goal.
These are only three steps of many, but if we use them we can build a solid foundation for loyalty. There is no raincheck when it comes to leadership. Establishing loyalty is priority #1.
We seem to like the idea of rating performance, looks, ability, etc. Generally, we have a scale of 1 to 10. Somewhere in between we are able to communicate to others how well someone is doing based on a scale that reflects our opinion.
Consider the following: Who determines the scale? Does it differ from one person to another? Is there a consistent standard that allows for accurate evaluation?
We know the answers, but when we consider our leadership, how would we rate on a scale of 1 to 10?
Perhaps it would do us well to establish a consistent standard of evaluation to determine our leadership.
Until then, we should realize a couple of factors:
1. People are going to rate our leadership (whether we like it or not).
2. Our rating will be gauged by ability, decisions, relationships, and previous success.
3. We will give an account to God for our leadership.
4. The final measuring device will be God’s word.
Changing our rating is up to us. When we use God’s word, on a scale of 1 to 10, how will our leadership measure up?
The heart of a leader is more than an organ located in the chest cavity responsible for pumping blood throughout the entire body.
The heart is regarded as the center of one’s thoughts and emotions, connected to mood, feelings, courage, as well as, enthusiasm.
Another area, as it relates to the heart, involves the central or innermost part of something. The idea is identified as a vital part or the essence of something.
Building on this understanding, the heart of a leader shapes a completely different picture. Consider the growth of the early church. Leadership was central, a vital part, and the essence of this growth.
Discussions often center on why the church today does not grow the way it did then. There are numerous answers and the validity of these answers is not in question.
However, if we really want the church to grow today, maybe we need to pay attention to the heart of leadership. Perhaps leaders need to take a greater role in fulfilling the God-given task of being the innermost part of the church.
When this happens, we will see a revival to the truth.
The third leadership habit builds on previous posts. Silence and reflection aid leaders in developing the third essential to successful leadership: organized planning.
The choice of these two words is intentional. Several articles speak to the need for leaders to be organized and others address the importance of planning ahead. Few, however, really look at the combination of an organized leader who uses organizational skills to plan ahead.
Peter Economy touches on this idea in an article that highlights 10 Powerful Habits of Highly Effective Leaders.
He identifies the challenges associated with the thought required in planning ahead. Consider what might happen when spiritual leaders think through the possibilities and plan in a way that brings passion alongside of thinking.
As the phrase is commonly used, leading with the head and heart is critical to leverage the habit of organized planning. Leaders who develop the habit of planning ahead with organized methodology can seize opportunities that produce successful and lasting growth.
Developing this habit requires more than a few minutes each day, but a lifetime committed to reflecting on improving organizational skills and using those skills to plan accordingly.