Leadership Part 2/4
Having established the scaffold for leadership being Service, Authenticity and Adaptability (or Situational), last week, we have now paved the way for 20 or so leadership tips to keep in mind as your responsibilities unfold. Over the next three weeks, we will look at roughly six each week.
- Pray. If you believe in God, don ’t leave him behind at the front gate. He will shape you and refine you through the challenges that you face, particularly the difficult challenges that come along with leadership. I’m sure there are things that you can achieve without prayer BUT how much better to seek the will and direction of the Creator of all that is and ever will be.
- Serve and encourage. We are all self-centred to some extent but we are also created to relate to others. This was abundantly clear to most in the recent global pandemic. Even students who find College life a challenge were glad to be back where they belong and in the company of people they care about and who care about them. The first call on a Christian leader is to put the needs of others first. Jesus First; Others Second; Yourself Last can ironically bring much JOY. The world does not understand this. Never assume or expect encouragement or service in return!
- Always allow the important to outweigh the urgent. If you are organised (and you must be) then the multimillion-dollar business decision, the compliance issue or the Council report can wait. They are only urgent and that is what the evening is for at home. The staff member who is grieving over a lost dog is important and must take priority. Remember the story of the woman who had suffered for many years and who just wanted a few moments with Jesus. Remember the children. Both the woman and the children were being ushered away by the disciples because Jesus was a great leader and He had important business elsewhere. For Jesus, they were people and not distractions – in their need they became His focus. The urgent could wait.
- Treat a Pelican like a Princess. It is easy to treat a Princess like a Princess, but in leadership, you will encounter difficult people. Listen, understand and seek a diplomatic solution. Your power should not be abused. Sometimes, however, you will meet someone who has an agenda; wants to edify themselves; or who is just plain unreasonable. The great Australian philosopher, Mr Paul Hogan, had an erudite description for such people – “Pelicans”. It is hard but it is essential in leadership to remember that all people are made in God’s image and that we are all sinners saved by grace. Try not to judge – that’s His job. If you cannot identify the pelican in a large group of people, be alarmed, it is probably you.
- Manage by walking around (MBWA). There will be enough work to keep you behind your desk all day every day. Get up and get out there. Engage. You will invariably have conversations that are helpful. People expect leaders to be visible.
- Choose the right staff. Most people think that the qualities necessary for a leader are in order –
a. Being able to achieve a checklist of responsibilities (a role description),
b. Having the capacity to see the “big picture” and think (of others) outside their own brief
c. Having the emotional capacity to remain focused and controlled in a storm.
Choose the leaders (and the staff) that you will be working with who have strengths in the reverse order. It is easy to teach skills but almost impossible to teach personality…..
Staffing is the leader’s most important responsibility. Get it right.