Leading isn’t easy.
There are some days that I’m ready to throw in the towel, call it quits, and find some other life work with less decisions, less responsibilities, and less weight. But as I’ve written before, leadership was never designed to be easy. It IS a burden, but thankfully a burden we can take to the altar and lay before the Lord.
Leadership is a growth process, too. Try as you might, even if you read ALL of his books from cover to cover, you just won’t wake up and be the next John Maxwell.
Nor should you want to be.
God has a unique leadership role for each of us and we can trust Him to show us the next step as we progress on this lifelong journey. God is always faithful to show us new lessons, right when we need them.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about four leadership skills that God has been working on driving home into my heart.
Lead with Gentleness
Those who truly hold power never need to wield it.
I’ve been reminded frequently of the words of 2 Timothy 2:24: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient . . .”
Don’t throw your weight around just for the sake of making a point. Or even making a change. Lead with integrity and determination, but lead with love and gentleness. Never forget that you are dealing with a living, breathing person, who has been made in the image of God.
Inspire by Example
You want to make changes? Start with yourself first. A team will rise to the level of their leader.
What kind of example are you setting for those under you? Do you want them to meet deadlines? Meet yours. Do you want them to have character and integrity? Show character. Do you want them to care? You care.
Inspire them to rise.
Avoid ultimatums and threats
This goes hand-in-hand with my first point. Veiled threats are usually anything but veiled. Never make conflict personal. Set guidelines, add consequences, but never threaten.
Ultimatums belong in time of war or nuclear crises. If that describes your team, well, you have much bigger problems in your leadership.
Are you a “your way or the highway” type of leader? If you want everything done exactly like you would do it, fire your team, triple your salary, and get prepared for a very short career.
Let your team express individuality. Understand their personality types and help them to thrive, not just survive. Encourage them to find options and develop their strategic thinking skills. Not only will this help them grow, but it will also give them a chance to own their work and know that they are being listened to and valued.
What have you been learning recently about leadership? I’d love to know, so leave me a comment below!