In my Leaders Who Last seminar, I say that there are two reasons people will follow you as a leader:
1. They respect and trust who you are -Credibility
2. They like where you are going -Vision
On the Credibility Issue, I believe it’s primarily about relationships. Here are a few additional things to consider to becoming a leader people want to (not have to) follow:
It used to be that leaders were viewed as leaders because of what they knew. With the internet in full swing, most followers can know what the leader knows. What followers are looking for in a leader is not what he knows, but how he cares. The fact of the matter is that people don’t really care about how much you know, but they really want to know about how much you care. Care is shepherding, pastoring, watching out for people’s souls. In the quest to get things done and make things happen, be sure your people know that you genuinely care for them. Leadership is about getting things done and getting along. Both are essential to good biblical leadership.
With the leaders I coach and the churches I visit with my Leaders Who Last seminars, one thing is increasingly clear to me: Everybody is super busy, slammed and exhausted most of the time. Most leaders are trying to do too much and are traveling too fast. One of the results is that they don’t take time to affirm, applaud and celebrate good efforts (both small and large) by their team.
We do well as leaders to celebrate every win by team members and do lots of affirming and encouraging. I have never met a person who felt they were encouraged too much and couldn’t take anymore. Because of the broken and dysfunctional world people have come from and/or live in, they need lots of positive strokes. What do you have in your calendar or on your “Do List” that enables you to celebrate people every chance you get.
In their book, “Practicing Affirmation,” Sam Crabtree and John Piper say, “Affirmation is like an invigorating sudsy shower after a long day of manual labor. It’s like a cool rain after a long, hot dry spell. It delivers a combination of relief, respite, hope, optimism, satisfaction and energy. It’s life-giving. It blesses. Do you want your relationships to be more refreshing to you? Then serve up banquets of refreshment for others.”
People serving in their roles and responsibilities do much better when
- Their job responsibilities are clear to them
- They know what authority they have to spend money and make decisions
- Your expectations in key result areas are clearly explained
- They have set goals that you have agreed with
- They are confronted when something is amiss
People working for you and on your team need to hear from you when they are not doing well, as well as hearing from you when they are doing well (affirming above).
Leadership is about making the tough decisions and having the tough conversations. A person should never be surprised when they are let go. Conversations leading up to this critical decision need to be frequent and honest so the person has the opportunity to address the issue(s).
Don’t be afraid to confront people when poor performance is obvious to everyone. Do it thoughtfully, lovingly, thoroughly and timely…but do it!
For many years church pastors and staff were poorly paid and it is still a problem in many churches and Christian organizations. It was considered unbiblical to overdo it in this arena. I am not sure where in the Bible people got that idea, in light of I Tim 5:17, where we are encouraged to give double honor to those leaders who work hard and lead well.
The church is woefully behind in compensating its pastors and staff well. If you are going to err, err on the side of being too generous, not too frugal. Give bonuses, special gifts on birthdays, hire-dates and anniversaries. You are not paying your people--you are investing in them. Don’t hold back, but hand out!