I’m going to assume that any leader worth his salt wants to become a better leader by growing in his/her walk with Jesus and, flowing out of that, be the best leader he/she can be. I know I do!
I’m sure that the number of things you could do with those you lead to become a better leader are endless, but here are four with which to start right now!
1. INFORM THEM
The people you lead will respect your leadership and do excellently if you inform them of the Purpose/Values/Vision and key initiatives your team, group or organization is currently operating from. This gets everyone on the same page and keeps alignment strong and healthy.
Additionally, it has been my experience that people function (and serve) much better when they are clear on what you are asking them to do (a written ministry or job description) and are also clear on your expectations for the role. Spell it out for them in as much detail as necessary and make sure there is adequate understanding. A clear job description and a clear articulation of expectations can also be the basis for future evaluations.
2. EMPOWER THEM
Set your people free to do what you have asked them to do. Don’t look over their shoulders or micromanage them. Give them freedom and turn them loose. The more freedom you give people to do their jobs the way they’d like to do them, the more satisfaction they’ll get from their work. Most leaders are supposed to be a little smarter than other people and, in most respects, they probably are. But if leaders insist on doing all the thinking for their organizations, if everything has to be done THEIR way, what’s left for the people who work for them to be proud of?
How much personal satisfaction can there be in doing a job that is completely programmed, where your muscles or brain are used to perform repetitive operations already planned and dictated by someone else?
Turn people loose, get out of their way and watch what happens!
3. ENCOURAGE THEM
I have never met a person who felt that they were encouraged too much and couldn’t handle any more. Build the habit of frequently (and publically, as much as possible) expressing appreciation and gratitude for what they are doing and how they are behaving in their responsibilities. Be specific. “You’re doing great” won’t cut it. Mention something specific that they have recently done and tell them how it has benefited the organization or team. Send along that encouragement as soon as you can after you notice something to be commended. For it to be effective, encouragement needs to be specific, enthusiastic and timely. Recently I was impressed with Acts 20:2 in The Message: “Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he (Paul) gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.”
That became a memory verse for me which I take very much to heart!
4. CONFRONT THEM
Just as people need to be encouraged when they are doing well, they also need to be confronted when they are doing poorly. This should also be very specific so that they know what they need to give attention to. And, as opposed to publically, this confrontation needs to be private. Point out where they need to improve or change and walk with them in the process. Make resources, people and tools available to help them grow and change. Be honest and frank, but considerate, when confronting. Reassure them that you believe in them and are confident that they can address the issue(s) that are holding them back.
As a leader, if you inform, empower, encourage and confront with the help of the Holy Spirit and in such a way that honors the Lord Jesus, you will be a better leader and the people you are privileged to lead will fare much better as valued team members.