Everyone starts out in a field and seeks to learn from those around them. Eventually leadership sees skills that are being developed, so they give them more responsibilities. In fact, many reading this can tell the story of their rise to leadership by describing the leaders who propelled each of us to the place we now enjoy.
Perhaps you’ve even made it to senior leadership now. Perhaps you’re the leader in preaching, executive decisions, music and worship, communication, etc. You’ve arrived! But does it stop there?
No. There are 3 important skills that were required from leadership throughout your life so that you can be where you are now. So, it’s imperative (and healthy) for you to practice those 3 skills now:
- Asking Questions. As a leader we’re pursued for answers. And often, the people asking the questions are seeking fast answers because it affects them. As leaders we get to the point that we don’t even need to hear all of the question before we start formulating the answer. Resist this. Learn the skill of truly listening, asking clarifying questions, listening again to the answers, and then going to the ULTIMATE step: asking the person approaching you this simple question: “What do you think we should do?”. Then truly listen to their opinion.
- Considering Change. We’re often quick to tell people we don’t know all the solutions but often we appear that way when we give direction. We ARE stronger together when we group-think. Once you’ve asked for someone’s opinion, consider solving the issue in a different way than you’ve always done it. Especially if someone else is suggesting it. Resist the urge to not change! Concerned they may be misguided? Then ask clarifying questions again and see what they’re outcomes are. The ULTIMATE step? Discussing what both of your goals are for the change and asking them to be responsible for the success. Enable them to make the decision.
- Raising Up Leaders. The former 2 skills will MULTIPLY leaders in your church or organization. This should be the skill that you’re honing! How do you know when this is ULTIMATELY working? When fewer people seek answers from you and THEY are multiplying leaders under them. Ministry is about empowering people to use ideas, gifts, and talents so that God uses them. Ministry is not about you.
May we focus on encouraging people to set goals and achieve them by having them emulate how we lead up. The true ULTIMATE test of this? When a leader leaves, the congregation and staff don’t decline and fail. And they seek empowering leadership as replacements to allow ministry to flourish.