10 Building Blocks to Leadership
L – Love – Passion for people and for what you do.
This should go without saying but the truth is, lots of people go into leadership for other reasons than love or passion. They go into it because maybe their parents were leaders, or maybe they just crave being the leader instead of the follower. (How many people do you know who say they want to start their own business so they can "be their own boss"?) The truth is, some are power hungry but have no idea what authority costs.
The truth is that passion and love count for a lot. Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant of the Dallas Cowboy Football Team made the statement, “If I ever quit coaching football, I’ll be dead in 6 months.” He retired from coaching and died 6 weeks later. He was a man full of passion for what he did.
If you have a love and a passion you don’t have to convince people that you have it – they know it by your actions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important as a leader to express your love for others. A good leader will verbally express their love, however even if they didn’t a mark of a true leader is that the people they lead know they are loved.
E – Emotionally Healthy
A leader must constantly pursue good emotional health. Those you are leading will be all over the map with their emotions. While we are emotional creatures and God designed us this way he also designed us to be healthy in expressing those emotions in a mature way.
If you are going to be effective as a witness and a leader in God’s Kingdom, you must develop a thick skin that doesn’t feel offenses easily, quit worrying about the small things that won’t matter in a few days and learn to accept people as they are.
The Bible gives us instructions about leadership in Ephesians 4 and says that leaders are there to help the people mature. If we have not worked toward maturity ourselves how can we lead others? You can’t take someone else where you haven’t been. The scripture says that we will not be like infants tossed back and forth, but that we will grow up in all things.
Leaders don’t have the luxury to respond like everyone else does. My husband always says that in leadership, everyone else can be jerks but us. Do you know how many immature or mean things people have said or done to me? If I responded to every one of them I’d never be in leadership today.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me personally that I color my hair. My hair grows quickly, and my roots show in between times although I recolor every four weeks. Two weeks after we came to pastor in Tampa , a lady came up to me and said, “what are we going to do about you? You are our new pastors wife and you look like a skunk!” I had to deal with that lady for the next seven years here and trust me the skunk comment was mild. At one point that same woman went around and told people in the church that she was the spiritual mother of the church, not me. I had to keep my head up, know who I was and just keep going.
Sometimes it’s a matter of working with that person, praying with them and bringing them to maturity and seeing God change them. At other times when they are unresponsive it’s just a matter of outlasting them.
If you are going to be a leader you will have to have a sense of who you are, and what you came to do. You cannot be an effective leader if you are always emotionally worked up over something. That sort of overshadows everything and when everyone else is emotionally all over the map a leader needs to be able to be steady and chart the course.
A – Attitude
According to statistics, 90% of all people who are fired lose their position because of a bad attitude.
Abraham Lincoln said, “A man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be”.
Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
The importance of a great attitude in leadership cannot be overstated.
D – Dedication
There is no substitute for hard work and dedication.
Real leaders are “extra milers”…
"And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone wants you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
Jesus was telling us that we should be willing to do more – to go the extra mile. It will not always be convenient -- in fact most of the time it will be inconvenient!!! Those who become leaders in the Kingdom of God must learn to work harder, stay longer and be dedicated to their calling.
Everyone goes the first mile because it is required for existence. Only leaders will go the second mile to give their best.
The road to the next level is always uphill, and if it were easy, everybody out there would be doing it.
E – Expectation
Learn to have high expectations of yourself, and also expect the best in others.
There is power in your words so expect the best and speak with positive faith. Give the very best…your first fruits…not your leftover of whatever you have including your leftover energy or time.
I often hear of people saying, “well I’m doing the best I can doing this with my leftover time.” That’s part of the problem – they are choosing to give their leftover time instead of dedicating their best hours to that which God has called them to.
We always have more time than we want to admit to. I will hear that people have no time or money to do something. They say they have no time but then I see on their facebook they have just gone to the beach. They say they have no money but I see on their facebook they have just gone to Steak and Shake.
As a coach I can pretty much look at anyone’s schedule or checkbook and within five minutes tell them exactly where they would have more time or money if they made a few adjustments. Rarely would most people be open to that kind of introspection, but the truth is that at the end of the day, we all do what we WANT to do.
It comes down to the issue of giving your first fruits --
Numbers 18:12, "All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the first fruits of them which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee."
R – Responsibility
Leadership is servanthood and responsibility at the core.
You have to give up to go up! I have heard leaders say, “since I serve on the worship team, I can't stand by my spouse anymore while we sing or take communion.” All I have to say to that is... welcome to the ministry!
Or, “since I am on the worship team, we have to drive in separate cars and it's inconvenient…”
Or, “since I teach Missionettes I don’t get to hear the teaching on Wednesday night.” Well, duh.
Responsibility means I will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes until the job is done.
God has given us a work to do, whether it be a family to raise a ministry department to lead, a team to be a part of, a church to build, a family to raise and that is our responsibility. Only if we all do our part can these things prosper.
S – Servanthood
I read a statistic this past week that 7 out of every 10 people who want to become leaders will never achieve their goal. Why? Because they aren't committed to being a servant.
How do you know if you're a servant? Simply see how you react when someone treats you like one!
Matthew 23:11-12, "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
H – Honesty –
Have you ever gotten extra change at a cash register when you check out? What do you do about it?
Do you say, “Halleluiah, God has provided!!!”??
Your character is what you will do when no one is watching.
Your personality is what you do when people are around.
A USA Today poll found that only 56% of American teach honesty to their children. One thing I often remind parents about is that with kids, things are more "caught than taught." Even among those who do teach honesty, living it out is a different story as many kids witness their parents lying about all sorts of things or worse yet asking them to lie for them. As a pastor I’m shocked to see how much of this goes on in the church.
I - Initative
Leaders make the first move.
If you are going to be a leader you can’t wait for people to come to you. People expect the leader to come to them, not the other way around.
As a leader it’s not about what you FEEL like doing, it’s about what you are called to do.
Feeling like doing something is not a requirement for success. You don’t have to FEEL IT, just do it.
When I walk into a room, as a leader I can’t afford to wait for people to walk up to me. It’s up to me to walk across the room and introduce myself and say, “how can I help you?”
If there is a problem, a leader also takes the initiative to approach the person. This is not always easy. I don’t like to deal with problems, but as a leader we can’t shy away from difficult situations. No leader loves confrontation -- if they do they are a sick person. Leaders typically loathe confrontation but we know that for the health of those we lead and the organizations we serve, we must do it.
In the Bible Deborah was a person of action. She got things done. The Bible says in Judges 5:7 that “village life in Israel ceased until Deborah, a mother, arose in Israel.”
Things just stopped until Deborah was put in charge and got on the move.
In pastoring a church, I can tell who emerging leaders are by noticing who is getting things done even without me asking them to. Budding leaders are self starters.
Some people want to be a leader but they don’t want to actually do anything.
Leadership is more than a title, and the truth is, it’s not up to your leader to give you initiative…that’s all in your court. After all, isn't that the meaning of initiative in the first place?
P – Punctual
Being on time is the first step to defeating the enemy. Showing up is where it starts!
So if this area is not one that is under control in your life – it’s important that you make this a priority.
Lateness is a sign of poor management skills. When you are late for appointments, meetings or work, you show a lack of respect for other people's time as well as your own. Also, if you can't manage to get yourself to meetings on time why should your leader entrust you with anything else?
Why is there so much stress in the workplace? One reason is that people have the tendency to put things off until the last possible moment, forcing them to complete the task at a frenzied pace and narrowly miss, or make, their deadline. If you are that one person that completes their work early, or helps someone else meet their deadline you'll be setting yourself apart from the rest. A lot of success in business or ministry is simply in setting yourself apart from the rest based upon your level of excellence in service.
As a leader – it’s very important to be on time and if something happens in any event where you might even be a moment or two late, call and advise those you are working with of your ETA. To do so is just professional courtesy.
Love - passion for people and for what you do.
Expectations - of yourself and others