20 Feb '13
Why should anyone follow you?
That is a fascinating question if you are a leader. Do you deserve to lead others? Are you functioning as a healthy, effective leader whose priority is the team you lead or are you really more interested in your things and priorities? The truth is that there are many leaders who frankly don't deserve to lead others and don't have the best interests of others at heart.
What are the characteristics of leaders who deserve to lead? First, they are committed to leading through their team. It is not about them but about what they and the team can accomplish together. Their team is not an afterthought or distraction but a major commitment and priority. They have made the transition from being an individual producer to leading through team.
Second, they have clarified the boundaries for the team: They are crystal clear on the mission they are are committed to, the guiding principles by which they work, their central ministry focus - the thing they need to do all the time and the desired outcomes of their work. Without definition in those four areas, we do not deserve to lead because those who work for us deserve to know the boundaries.
Third, they are leaders who empower rather than control others. Controlling leaders are selfish leaders and insecure leaders. Their lack of confidence keeps them from allowing good people to figure out how to accomplish their work in line with the clarity defined above. Neither Jesus nor Paul were selfish or controlling leaders - they defined the boundaries and empowered.
Fourth, they are leaders who mentor and coach their reports, helping them become all that they can be. This is not a monthly quick check in but it is an attitude and practice of understanding the wiring and strengths of their reports and helping them become all that God made them to be. That takes time. It is an unselfish use of our time and energy. Supervisors who will not mentor and coach in ministry do not deserve to lead others.
Fifth, they model what they teach and require of others. They are people of integrity, accountability, focus on results and keep their commitments. Leaders who do not model those four characteristics do not deserve to lead others.
It is an interesting question that each of us who leads ought to ask. Why should anyone be led by us? Don't take the question for granted. If you do you should not be leading. And trust me, our team members have an opinion on it.