Leadership is a calling. You have to be called by God to be a leader. In the midst of all this mess you will be attacked, accused, talked about, torn down, trashed, and yelled at. If it isn’t a calling then when trouble comes you will walk away from it. Don’t get me wrong. Leadership has some of the greatest experiences I have ever known. The joy of people receiving breakthrough, growth, momentum in their lives, purpose, and so forth. The good outweighs the bad, but if you are not called then at some point you will walk away from it.
Leadership is hard. I don’t say that to sound negative. I say that as a statement of truth. There has been many times that I have wanted to just give up and work an easier job. Think about it this way. You are leading many personalities who have all sorts of hurts, unforgiveness, pain, and so forth. Take those same people you are leading and try to move them all in the right direction at the same time. It can be VERY challenging. Honestly, it is like herding cats. Just this big mess that you pray end up at the same place together.
So the question becomes, are you a leader? Are you someone who is called to lead people. This can be in any capacity. You could be the pastor, the small group leader, the team leader, or whatever position you hold. Leadership is not just in the church. Leadership opportunities are all around us.
How do you know you are a leader? How do you know if your not just a person who gets things done and not really leading anyone? I am going to give you a couple of ways in which we can tell if we are really leading people or not. I have a request. I need you to be honest with yourself. It is easy to justify your answers and make yourself seem better then you really are. Great leaders are very honest in their evaluations with themselves. So I ask you to strive to be a great leader. Strive to be brutally honest with yourself. Invite others in who will be honest with you.
Here is a series of questions to test your leadership.
Can you attract a team to you?
If you are the only one doing what you are doing and no one is with you then you are not leading. You may be great at getting the job done. But leadership is about passing on the baton. Leadership is about growing those around you. If it is just you and Jesus then you are not leading. Leadership requires someone to lead.
This brings up a couple of questions. Do you know how to recruit a team? Can you attract a team to you? Are people willing to follow you? Now I know you may have a great reason why you have not been able to attract team members. The reason isn’t as important as the self evaluation. The first question is ability. You can learn how to recruit. The second and third questions have everything to do with you. If people are unwilling to join you on the team then you have to ask yourself why? Many of us may not like the answers that we find. But it is needed if you hope to be the leader God desires you to be.
Can you keep a team?
Keeping your team is as important as attracting them. Maybe you have enough influence and charisma to get team members to join you. That is a great step in the right direction. Does your team see a high turnover rate? Almost as if your team is a revolving door? There is no easy way to say this. It is the leaders fault. Hear me out before you make any snap decisions here. I understand that sometimes life happens and people leave. That is part of life. People get sick, life happens, and people leave. However, it doesn’t happen as often as we like it to. Meaning, we have to take personal responsibility. Sometimes we are too direct. Sometimes we are not direct enough. Sometimes we are misunderstood. Sometimes we are unable to lead people well. Sometimes we just cannot seem to make it work. All the time we are responsible for how we respond to people. So often I have seen people leave teams because the “leader” was more of a dictator who lead by intimidation and defensiveness.
It is hard to hear that though. That I may not be a good leader or that I lead out of my own hurt and pain. As hard as it is to hear you need to face it. If you are a low level leader who cannot seem to keep anyone Let me encourage you. Leadership can be grown and cultivated within you. If you are a leader who leads out of your hurt then I have a realistic point of you. I would like you to consider a simple fact. You will never be the leader that you know you can be until you find healing your hurts. Why do I say this? Because our hurts, insecurities, and unforgiveness will always put a lid on our leadership. Jesus would rather you be healed then to lead damaged.
Are people truly flourishing?
This is one of the toughest questions I think I heard in a while. Are people truly growing and thriving because of your leadership? This really got me. Are people truly growing as a result of my leadership? If I say yes then I feel like a great leader. Sad thing is that we can justify anything. I may say yes just because I want to believe I am a good leader. If I say maybe then I may be confused. If I cannot say yes or no then I may not know where the people I lead are along on their journey. I may be disconnected and aloof from their needs and how I am creating an environment to meet those needs. Yes I know, Jesus is the only one to meet the needs. However, as a leader are you creating those places where people can engage Jesus? Finally, If I say no then I have to face facts. I am not a good leader and things need to change.
The goal of a leader is to add value to those who follow you. You want people to be better then they were before they followed you. Ask yourself honestly the questions above. Have others speak into your life. Allow people to hold you accountable. Strive to grow personally. Above all else, allow God to direct you in how to lead.
In the next post I am going to share with you how to be a better leader.
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