Last time, I shared some key lessons on leadership. In this article, I’d like to outline some additional principles which I believe will provide food for thought for a Christian leader looking to improve how they lead.
The first question to ask is:
Would you want you on your team?
Leaders are part of teams. They don’t exist in isolation. Even if you are the CEO, you have an executive team and probably have a Board of Directors that you report to. If you’re the Board Chairperson, you have your fellow Board members and you are accountable to the shareholders.
If you look at yourself dispassionately and objectively, do you have the traits of somebody whom you’d be happy to lead? For example:
· Do you support the team and go above and beyond the call of duty to get things done? Do you have a service-oriented mindset? Is your default setting “how can I help or add value?”
· Do you have a positive and respectful attitude; believe the best in others and forgive faults easily?
Colossians chapter 3 verse 13 (New Living Translation) says: “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
· Can you be trusted? Are you a person of integrity? Is your “yes” yes and “no” no? If you change your mind, do you communicate this as quickly as possible?
Do you own up to mistakes, apologize and try to fix them? Do you treat people fairly and with transparency? Do you keep confidences?
· Do you work on constantly improving your technical and soft skills?
· Do you empower and speak life into others? Do you view them through the lens of love and compassion? We are to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Colossians chapter 3 verse 14)
· When you’re angry or frustrated, are you still kind with your words? Do you speak in such a way that people love to listen to you? Do you listen in such a way that make people love to speak with you?
· Are you thankful for each member of the team and express gratitude often?
· Do you submit to authority? A former boss, who had a military background, used to say that a good leader knows how to follow instructions. There is always a chain of command. Understanding the discipline of submission is an important quality for a leader to have.
The above list of questions, while not exhaustive, can help prompt some deep introspection and highlight areas that require us to realign ourselves to being the kind of leader people will gladly follow.
Are you viewed as a Godsend by your team? Are you working on a God-constructed legacy?
2 Chronicles chapter 2 recounts a story about King Solomon who was making preparation for building a temple for God. Solomon sent word to King Huram of Tyre about his plans and requested skilled artisans and timber. King Huram replied:
“Because the Lord loves his people he has made you king over them… Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, endowed with discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord, and a royal palace for himself.” (verses 11-12)
As leaders, our teams should feel blessed by our presence. The way in which we lead should feel like a conduit for God’s love, mercy and grace to them. How have their lives changed positively because of you?
This doesn’t necessarily mean a higher salary or position, but can take myriad forms: have they gotten greater opportunities for training, more or better resources to do their job, exposure to different areas of the business, a greater sense of self-belief and confidence, empowerment, received mentoring or coaching, feel a deeper connection to the company and clients or have a higher vision of themselves? Do they feel listened to, heard, and understood?
Reflect on your interactions with the members of your team. As was mentioned about Solomon: is your wisdom, discretion and understanding evident?
Are you a finisher?
The passage from 2 Chronicles chapter 2 speaks to the beginning of the building project. King Solomon did end up completing the temple:
“Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished.” (2 Chronicles chapter 7 verse 11).
A leader must be able to deliver results, even if those results are achieved through other people. You must see every initiative through to its completion.
What is your vision for yourself and your team? What are your plans to execute? Your work is a temple for God. People will see your good work and glorify your Father in Heaven (Matthew chapter 5 verses 15-16).
Devote your plans to God and take daily, consistent action to get it done. Your presence and impact will be felt long after you are gone.
Sharma Taylor is a corporate attorney with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She won the 2017 Basil Sellers International Young Writers prize in the Press Service International young writer program, the 2019 Tronson Award (International) and the 2021 Basil Sellers award for International Senior Writers. Every day, she loves experiencing the beautiful surprises that God has stored up for her and longs to keep cultivating a servant-heart.