A leader leads. To lead, you need to know where you are going. To know where you are going, you need a direction. The people need to know where you are going to see if they want to follow.
Where there is no vision, the people perish… Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
It is important that you get your direction or purpose from God. This always comes from being quiet before him and waiting on him. From Him we get a plan of action. It helps to ask people around you to confirm your calling.
2. Communication Skills
You may have the best purpose in the world, but if you can’t communicate it, no one will follow. To be an outstanding leader, learn to be an excellent communicator. Effective leaders are effective communicators.
Effective leaders have strong interpersonal skills. This includes learning how to listen to others, reading body language, how to ask questions to understand, and how to speak clearly. Listening is one of the most important skills because it helps you to see if your vision will be one they want to follow.
Being consistent in your behavior is necessary to lead a team. It is hard for people to follow you if you are unpredictable. Are you nice and approachable this week, then cranky and want to be alone next week? If so, people will stay away from you.
Wherever you are not stable, ask Holy Spirit to make you stable. Act like a marathon runner, not a sprinter. The sprinter can run fast for a short distance, then they collapse with exhaustion. Don’t lead this way. A marathon runner runs 26 miles with a consistent pace.
There is no overnight success. If you see someone instantly successful, they probably aren’t. Most of the time these ‘overnight successes’ are not really that. You just now noticed them. They have paid their dues somewhere.
Consistency wins. If you fall, repent, change and go at it again.
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11 (NIV)
Your emotional, financial, relational stability is an anchor that others’ need. We don’t want to be a basket case that people are afraid will rub off on them.
How Do You Develop Stability? Here are some points.
- Don’t jerk people around. Think about what you are doing. Respond don’t react.
- Let your yes be yes, and your no no. Don’t keep changing your mind unless there is a good reason for it. If you are not sure what to do, wait as long as possible before deciding.
- Develop Wisdom by learning from others in your areas of weakness.
- Discipline. Deal with those who are not competent, morale killers, etc. in your organization. If they stay around too long, they will run off your best employees. This will cause a vicious cycle of your best people leaving.
This may be the most important skill you need to develop. Integrity helps you to lead well and long. You can lead without excellent communication skills. But you cannot make it without integrity. Having character is the difference between mediocre and excellent leaders. Without character, your leadership will fall because nobody believes you.
One major result of integrity is your followers will trust you. Trust is the key result of integrity. If people trust you, they will follow you when they don’t understand what you are doing. This is important, because often it is hard to describe where you are going. But if they trust you, they will continue to follow. If you are a person of integrity, they will believe that you can lead them into the future.
Ask yourself, “Do people think you are a person of your word?”
What can I do to build trust?
- Do what you say.
- Be fair.
- Always tell the truth. If what you are doing needs to stay private, say you can’t share now.
- Admit when you make a mistake.
- Make restitution when you make a mistake.
- Choose others over yourself.
7 Results of Integrity
Integrity Builds Trust
“In order to be a leader a man must have followers. An to have followers, a man must have their confidence. Hence, the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office. If a man’s associates find him guilty of being phony, if they find that he lacks forthright integrity, he will fail. His teachings and actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.” Dwight Eisenhower, USA General and President
Integrity Makes You More Influential
1300 executives were surveyed and said, “integrity is the human quality most needed to succeed in business.”
Will Rogers: “People’s minds are changed through observation and not argument.”
The best way to lead is by example.
Integrity Means You Have a High Standard
Do what you say. Don’t be guilty of uncompleted promises or work.
Integrity Results in a Solid Reputation
As a Christian, you have further motivation to do right because you are also representing Jesus Christ.
Requirement of an elder in a church: 1 Timothy 3:7, “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church…”
Integrity Means Living it Myself Before Leading Others
“As a leader, you will set the example for everyone who works with you. The values you hold in your personal life are the same values that should guide your business decisions. Ethical behavior is not only the right thing to do; it also makes good business sense. It’s not just winning the race; it’s how you do it that matters.” William Ferguson, Chairman/CEO, NYNEX Corporation
This is exactly what Jesus Christ did. He was a servant leader, not a military dictator.
Integrity Builds Credibility
People will believe you when you say something if you have built integrity.
Integrity Takes Hard Work
You will only Become what you are Becoming Right Now
“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person – Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. I tell them, ‘Everyone here has the intelligence and energy—you wouldn’t be here otherwise. But the integrity is up to you. You weren’t born with it, you can’t learn it in school.” Warren Buffett
To be a person of integrity means we have developed convictions. Without strong convictions, you will lead no one. A good spiritual leader has convictions based on the Word of God. For example, Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin had convictions, just the wrong ones. We must develop convictions based on scripture, then pass them on to workers, wife, children, etc.
Fathers Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “…teach them diligently unto thy children…”
Grandfathers Deuteronomy 4:9, “…but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”
There is a difference between convictions and preferences. A conviction you will die for, a preference you won’t. Without strong convictions, you will lead no one.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Proverbs 23:7a (KJV)
“Whatever values you do choose to live by, make sure you understand them and are committed to them. If you wait until you are faced with a difficult situation, it’s often too late to start examing your beliefs. Once you have you values clearly defined, you will find that making decisions really becomes quite easy. No one can ever take them from you. They will always be there to support you and give you direction.” James Carrigg, CEO, N.Y. State Electric & Gas Corporation
“The respect that leadership must have requires that one’s ethics be without question. A leader not only stays above the line between right and wrong, he stays well clear of the ‘gray area’”. G. Alan Bernard, President, Mid Park, Inc.
Avoid the ‘Admit it and Quit it’ counseling advice. Yes, there are people where this is the right answer. But it will not help to say it. As a leader, show compassion.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV) Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
How Do You Develop Compassion? Here are some tips.
- Learn the skill of listening. There are resources on the internet and in books that will help you become a listener. Compassion requires listening.
- Try to imagine yourself in their place.
- Try to imagine where you would be without God’s mercy towards you. Remember the times people helped you. Realize, that the person in front of you may not have had these same opportunities.
6. Point To Jesus Not Yourself
The key to healing is more than technique, formulas, doctrine, or experience. It is learning how to point people to Jesus who knows exactly how to heal them.
John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Do not force yourself on people or use carnal methods to draw them.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 (NIV 1984)
Did you notice Jesus stands outside the door of His own church knocking? He does not break in but quietly speaks. He does not force anyone to open the door. We want to be the same way. We can offer the way of life, but we cannot choose it for them.
If we force people to do right, we are emphasizing external behavior only. This produces a shallow ministry that looks good but has no depth.
We want followers who follow the King with a right heart. God is seeking to give us a new heart, so we obey from a genuine desire to follow him. Do not lead people to follow a person or agenda instead of the voice of Jesus.
This leads to a shallow life. There is only one foundation that we build upon, and that is Jesus himself.
We give people the freedom to fall. We don’t get upset when they fall. Falling is a normal part of maturing.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 (NIV 1984)
How do we know if we are successful as leaders? It’s when our followers are following the King with a right heart. We need to observe about our followers, “what is their heart direction?”
Even so, I think the kind of leadership taught and demonstrated by the Lord and the early apostles is rarely found today. Those that I know who demonstrated it all have very small ministries by today’s standards. However, you can always tell a big difference in how much more mature and how much closer to the Lord those who follow their leadership are. – Rick Joyner
“John the Baptist’s whole purpose was to prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. Then he directed them to follow the Lord even though it meant that they would leave him. He was willing to decrease as the Lord increased because this meant that he had fulfilled his purpose. We are not here to build our authority in people, but rather His authority. We are not here to make people our disciples, but to make them his disciples.” – Rick Joyner
Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly –mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 (NIV 1984)
“If my ministry is getting all of the attention, then I should be concerned that the Lord is not in my ministry. I have learned in the emptiness of just trying to build a ministry or influence. I want to help prepare the way for the Lord and what he is about to do in the earth. If I am only increasing people’s attention on me, then I am failing.” Rick Joyner
7. Love and Serve the People
John 15:12-13 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Love the People
Great leaders know how to encourage others. They constantly praise others and build them up. They love to help others succeed and be their best.
Believe and assume the best in people. Exercise restraint in criticism, but pursue praise and encouragement with a passion. Speak positive to your wives, your children, employees, believe in them. Encourage them to be their best. As you do this, an amazing thing happens, it benefits you greatly in reaped rewards.
Serve the People
We serve them; they don’t serve us.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 (NIV 1984)
Jesus Christ is our role model on how he served others first. Biblical leadership is opposite of military leadership. We don’t give orders and expect everyone to follow, no matter what. There is a place for orders, but the better way is to lead by example. Peter taught that the pastor was to lead by example, not by domination.
As a leader, we meet others needs before yours. This is opposite of the world’s method of leading. Remember, Jesus Christ at the end of his ministry washed his follower’s feet.
Then the word of the Lord came to me: 2) “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3) You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4) You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5) So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 7) Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8) As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than my for my flock, 9) therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10) This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will not longer be food for them. Ezekiel 34:1-5; 7-10 (NIV 1984)
Protect the Sheep
A true pastor will protect his sheep from the wolf. He warns the sheep of danger and settles the sheep in times of attack. We have to be true shepherds and not hirelings. Jesus is our example of a pastor. He laid down His life for the sheep. He shed His blood and entered a covenant to protect, care for, and provide for our needs. He is not a hireling.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life… John 10:11 (NIV 1984)
(2) Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; (3) not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. 1 Peter 5:2-4 (NIV 1984)
The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3) The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4) When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 11) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12) The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13) The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. John 10:2-4; 11-13 (NIV 1984)
A leader with a shepherd’s heart sacrifices for their group. Being available is the core thought here. I realize the tremendous time involved, but you cannot ignore your people. Make time for them in your life.
28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Acts 20:28-31 (NIV 1984)
A covenant shepherd makes a commitment to his sheep to watch over and care for them. They take it personally. This cannot be a convenience ministry. Every Christian needs a pastor. We all need someone to watch for our souls, keeping us accountable and warning us of dangers.
My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place. Jeremiah 50:6 (NIV 1984)
This warning from Jeremiah is just as valid today. One way that God’s people are still being led astray is by being led from this mountain to that mountain instead of being led to a relationship with Jesus Christ!
What are some examples of wandering over mountain and hill? Mobilizing people around projects instead of teaching how to bring His love into the world.
Modern advertising has conditioned people to respond to hype more than to the Holy Spirit!
One of the basic reasons for the lukewarmness that so many Christians are trapped in, is because they are worn out going from one project, or high place to another. You don’t get warn out going back and forth from the throne room!
Many people have now been conditioned to seek a spiritual “high” in every meeting, and if they do not have such an experience, they become bored and seek a new place to “experience God.”
Develop a Close Relationship With His Flock
A leader with a shepherd’s heart knows their group personally. There is an intimate connection – the leader “knows their voice” (John 10:4b-5). A good leader knows things that are personal and important to the people they serve and lead.
8. Help the Sheep Find Their Purpose
Good leaders set their people up for success.
“What do you need from me?” That is the most important question a leader can ask, and an essential one to engage employees.
Calvin G. Butler, Jr., CEO of Baltimore Gas and Electric, is a model example of this philosophy. He says, “As a leader, I set the strategy, select the best talent, and then empower them to do their jobs-and to do them well.”
Butler focuses on three critical things along the way:
1) his people’s development,
2) their accountability to achieve success,
3) and eliminating roadblocks that interfere with their and the company’s success.
Starts with Identity – Know Who You Are
As Christian leaders, one of the most important things to do is to help your leaders know they are valued for who they are first. They need to do their assignments from God, but there value comes from being a son/daughter of God. We are first called to someone (Jesus), before we are called to something.
Then Moves to What are You Called to Do – Your Assignment
You have a purpose. Without a purpose, we get depressed. We were created to expand God’s kingdom. We were created for adventure. This adventure comes from partnering with God in the areas He as called us too. Most of the time this is in everyday situations where we work – family, business, government, media, military church, or other vocations. It is exciting (and often scary), when we follow God. Christianity is never boring if we are actively following Holy Spirit. If your walk with God is boring, ask yourself, “am I listening to His voice”?
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18 (NIV)
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:8 (NIV)
As a leader, help your sheep find their calling and help point them to resources to be successful.
9. Create a Family
John 10:14-15 (NIV) I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me– just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.
A leader is to create a safe sheep pen – a safe place – home. A place of unconditional love. A place of belonging.
Learn to Love One Another this means moving from acquaintance to friendship. Another way of saying it is, move people from: Convenience > Community > Covenant.
Creating a sense of family does not mean unity of thought or opinion. It means unity despite different thoughts and opinions. It means honoring other’s opinions.
It will not always be peaceful, but peace is not the basis of your family.
The hows of this point is beyond this article. But there are lots of resources to help you do this. Family is what God wants among His body.
10. Give Hope
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God gives us hope – you are to channel that too. No matter how bad someone seems, there are no hopeless causes. Believe in people because you are not believing in them, but the destiny inside of them. You are believing in their Father God who can work miracles. Yes, it may be hopeless in the natural, but now when the supernatural comes in.
How Do You Demonstrate Hope? Encourage.
Encouragement is so powerful. Be a leader who encourages and not criticizes. There is always something you can approve in people.
Believe the Best in People and Help Them Be Successful.
Remind people that the Lord believes in them, birthed them into the earth with plans, and He will not abandon them now!
11. Raise Up a Support Team
Everybody needs a team. Depending on what we do, we need administrative people, idea generators, intercessors, etc. You can’t do everything well. Be honest about what areas are not your strengths? Find someone who has that area of a strength and see in you can enlist their help. No accomplishments of any size are accomplished by one person, but a team.