I have been in ministry for 7 or 8 years, serving in lots of different roles. Below, is a list of helpful insight I have learned, from being led, along with having the opportunity to lead. Thankfully, I have learned vastly from many different people. From their great wisdom, to their mistakes, and even my own mistakes specifically, I have learned a lot. I feel some of my own mistakes could have been avoided, with a few simple tips. Below is my top 10, I hope they help you.
- You CAN’T lead until you learn how to follow.
This is number one, because, I feel many individuals have the desire to be a leader. Unfortunately, they have no idea what it means to lead. For many it’s a title or a status, when it is far from that. It’s a great privilege with responsibilities, and at times, requires great sacrifice. You need to be led, with the intent of understanding how to submit to the authority of a leader. It will provide you with additional understanding, will guide you to less mistakes, and will give you the desire to give more grace.
- Leading is doing a task with someone, not telling someone to do a task.
As a leader, you are setting an example, not forcing people to do things. Judah Smith once said, “A great leader is not someone who says go and do this. He is someone who says come with me as I do this.” A leader is the one who stands out in front, you cannot effectively lead from behind.
- You need to love the people you are leading.
If you want people to follow you, they have to love you. They can tell when you do not love them, and value them. They have earned your love, because, they are standing with you, helping you, and sacrificing with you. They are your team, your brothers, make sure you love them, and in return, they will love you.
- Failure will happen.
When you are standing out in front, leading the way, there will be failures. Learn from them, and move forward, do not let them drag you down. It’s ok to fail, but learn from them, and move forward, do not let them define you.
- Celebrate victories and include your team.
I have a tendency to only remember my failures. They consistently have more of an impact, than my victories, and I am inclined to forget a victory faster than a failure. Let your victories drive you, and give you confidence, as you head into your next challenge.Remember, your team is sacrificing as much as you, make sure to include them in all things, and specifically, important victories. They feel the effect of the failure as much as you do, they need to feel the joy of victory as well.
- Be flexible and do your best to control you emotions.
No matter how much you plan, unplanned events will happen. You have to be able to make changes on the fly, and not be stuck in one plan. Whatever happens don’t panic! Do your best to control your emotions, because, they naturally affect your team. If you are positive, they will be positive. But if you panic, it can cause a snowball like effect throughout your team. In most situations your team is looking to you for stability and confidence. As a leader you must constantly show confidence, though your emotions do not reflect it.
- You are not always right, and it’s ok to say “I don’t know”.
It’s ok to say you are wrong! A good leader is not someone who is always right, but, is someone who encompasses the goal of the team, most effectively. Admitting you are wrong, or saying you don’t know, can help you develop the best answer more efficiently. In my opinion, it shows your team it is okay to say “I don’t know”, as well. It offers an opportunity for a team, to be a team, and to come together in the goal of figuring out a solution.
- Everyone has an opinion.
There will ALWAYS be someone, expressing your idea is wrong. The best thing to do, is to listen to them, and then seek the opinion of the people you trust, and apply as needed. Don’t take and apply everything people tell you, and at the same time, don’t dismiss everything people tell you.
- Let people make mistakes. (Give your best advice and let them make the choice)
This can be hard when you love your people. Unfortunately, mistakes can lead to setbacks, but, your goal is to help your team, and occasionally, mistakes are a way to learn, assuming you don’t consistently make the same mistake. You have to let people make their own choices, even if you can see the mistake coming, and they do not. Give your best advice, and let them make the choice, it will help them in the long run!
- Let the people you are leading have power.
Your job as a leader is not to possess the most power, but, to duplicate yourself, and help individuals identify their potential. Sometimes, for people to see their potential, and for you to see who they really are, an opportunity needs to be given to them. You might be surprised when you hand them the ball, and they have substantial ability. The sign of a great leader is not someone who has the most followers, but, someone who builds up, and raises up other leaders.