16 Jan '13
Essential Leadership Commitments
Posted by T.J. Addington
Those who lead others take on special responsibilities...and must hold themselves to the standards that they ask of those they lead. That is not always easy and it takes a humble vigilance because none of us do these things perfectly. But the "commitments" of leaders ought to be the norm not the exception.
Leaders keep their commitments
Our word is our bond and leaders model what it means to keep their commitments. Sometimes this means that we will not commit to something we don't know that we can deliver on. But once we have committed we do all that we can to deliver on that promise. When we don't deliver we devalue those to whom we have made a promise and we communicate that good intentions are what counts, not delivery on our promises.
Leaders model relational health
It is easy for relationships to go sideways or south. Leaders do all that they can to prevent that from happening and when it does to seek to right it. They don't hold grudges, they keep short accounts, they don't shy away from addressing relational issues and they do all that they can to live at peace with all men - as the Apostle Paul admonished. What they never do is nothing - when relationships have soured.
Leaders keep a missional focus
Ultimately our leadership is not about us but about the mission we believe in - and which our team is committed to. Many others will be distracted from missional focus by all the activity of work but leaders remain focused on the mission so that they can keep their team focused on the mission. Mission leaks easily. Leaders don't let that happen for them or for their team.
Leaders pay attention to their spiritual health
Leaders heed the admonishment of Proverbs 4:23, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Before all else, the condition of our hearts matter for from our hearts flow all that we are, our motives, attitudes, behaviors, words, relationships and love for the God we serve. Leaders always have time for God, for the word, for prayer and for quiet meditation. They nourish their hearts so that in the heat of leadership what emerges is what God would want to emerge.
Leaders always have a learning posture
Leaders are sure about a few things but they are always learning on the vast majority of things. A leader who knows the answer to everything is a leader only in his or her own mind! Leaders are always questioning, always learning, always thinking grey, always looking for better ways, always open to ideas and suggestions. In the end they must forge a direction with and for their team but they are by nature humble learners and always growing.
Leaders don't ask of others what they are unwilling to do themselves.
We lead by example not by edict. Before we can ask others to certain commitments they must see those commitments in us. Our asking comes out of our own commitments that are plain to all and therefore have credibility in their own right. The commander who will not lead his troops into battle is not fit to be a commander because he will not take the risk he is asking his troops to take.
Leaders care about results not just activity
Leaders are not fooled by activity nor do they allow activity of their team to pass for results. Rather they have clearly defined objectives and they are always looking for and pushing for measurable results. They help focus their teams on those particular activities that are most likely going to result in missional results.
Leaders are approachable
Leaders do not put themselves on a pedestal nor do they allow others to do so. If they want team members to be approachable, they must be approachable as well. Unapproachable leaders are really unaccountable leaders because people do not feel that they can talk to them or be heard by them. As a result they don't receive the honest feedback that every individual needs in their lives and work.
Leaders display personal humility
Leadership is a trust that we hold for a time in order to accomplish a God honoring mission. We are stewards of our leadership responsibility and we are servants of those we lead, empowering them to become all that they can be and developing them to become all that they can become. Leadership is not about us, it is about helping all of us accomplish our mission for the cause of Christ.
Many will lead some will lead well. Those who do, understand and live by the commitments of leaders.