I agree with the statement that leadership is influence. But if you carry this too far, everybody is a leader because everybody influences people simply by being alive.
I don’t believe everybody is a leader any more than I believe everybody is an administrator, teacher or counselor. Leadership is a gift and some are gifted to lead and some are gifted to serve in other ways in order for the body of Christ to grow and mature. Romans 12:6-8 and Ephesians 4:11-13 speak to this.
I do believe that someone with the gift of leadership can’t help but influence others. They are intentionally, proactively and passionately trying to influence others to something better, for the over-all good of the mission, the growth of the local body of Christ and the advancement of the Gospel.
A leader who truly “gets it” will have the greatest influence with the team that is on mission with him/her and that means paying attention to these team members and investing quality time in them.
Here are some practical ideas on how to have greater influence with your close- in team--whether you call this your dream team, strategic leadership team or core team. You need a close-in team with 5-7 members--not 20 direct reports.
1. Treat the people on your team with dignity and respect.
Lead them with a baton--not a baseball bat. A pat on the back generally goes much further than a kick in the pants. Motivate, don’t manipulate, your team. Don’t berate them and belittle them in front of each other.
2. Give team members freedom and liberty to experiment,
and even fail, as they try new and different approaches and methods. Let them dream and spread their wings and fly a bit. The entire team will be richer for it. Don’t demand perfection, but expect progress.
3. Reward your team verbally and publically.
I am amazed how few supervisors take the time to publically acknowledge excellent work by people on their team. Lack of encouragement, affirmation and reward can be a bigger problem than lack of skill. Celebrate often as a team and recognize individual effort and accomplishment. I’ve never met anybody who felt they were encouraged too much!
4. Be available to your team.
I have come to the conclusion that the whole world is moving at warp speed and that we have let most relationships go by the wayside in order to get more done. Results have become more important than relationships!
Building relationships with team members is the most important thing you can do. Schedule yourself in such a way so as to spend quality time with your key team members. Let them get to know you and you them. Be vulnerable and open with them.
I have recently been impressed with Matthew 5:16 in The Message, “Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Underlining is mine.)
Don’t hide in your office, behind your paperwork due to your “I’m so busy” mind set/attitude
5. Be dependable and consistent with your team.
In survey after survey, the thing that followers expect from their leaders is genuine consistency. Can they depend on your word, your promises and your character? Will you be the fair-minded and considerate boss today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or will your team think that they have a different boss every other day? Let biblical principles, not your emotions, determine how you lead. Be boringly consistent and predictable. This creates confidence in your leadership.
6. Let team members know you are their biggest fan.
Tell them often that you believe in them, trust them and want them to succeed. Remind them that you didn’t bring them on to see them fail and be removed. They that encouragement over and over, just as your spouse does, if you are married.
Put these simple ideas into practice and watch your team grow and make a solid contribution to God’s purposes and for His glory.