As a young man, I thought leadership was primarily about what I could accomplish. As I have added some gray hair (and a few inches), I have come to recognize that I can accomplish far more as a leader by motivating and mobilizing a team rather than focusing on my own activities.
In an article by John Maxwell, he observes: “You’ve probably heard the phrase, ‘It’s lonely at the top’ associated with leadership. But is isolated leadership really effective? I don’t think so. In fact, I believe that, ‘He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following, is only taking a walk.’ If you’re all alone as a leader, are you really leading? Losing touch with your people is a huge leadership landmine. It will damage your credibility and destroy your influence. How do you avoid losing touch?
Recognize the landmine.
Unfortunately, losing touch is an easy thing to do. A leader can be tempted to withdraw by both success (“I don’t need to see my people”) and failure (“I don’t want to see my people”). Understanding that it can happen is the first step to avoiding it.
All leadership is influence. And what is influence if it doesn’t involve other people? No matter what your organization produces or does, it needs people to function. YOU need people to lead. Leadership becomes effective when you acknowledge that people are your most appreciable asset, and treat them accordingly.
Avoid positional thinking.
Your position or title shouldn’t define your leadership. That’s positional thinking, and it will cause you to disconnect as a leader. Again, leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. I make it my goal to see the people I lead as teammates, not employees. We work together toward a common goal.” (Read the full article)
Whether you have a large staff or you are a solo pastor working with volunteers, what can you do this week to strengthen your team – and your leadership of that team?
Header image modified from a photograph provided through creative commons by Richard Paterson.
Michael Duduit is founding Dean of the College of Christian Studies and the Clamp Divinity School at Anderson University. He also serves as Professor of Christian Ministry. He is the founder and still serves as Executive Editor of Preaching magazine, one of the nation’s premier publications for pastors. His email newsletter, Preaching Now, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences. He is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, Joy in Ministry: Messages from Second Corinthians, Preaching with Power: Dynamic Insights from Twenty Top Communicators and Communicate With Power.