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3-Point Evaluation to Test the Strength of Your Leadership


Every leader has their own productive strengths, internal capacities, and external opportunities. That’s part of what makes each of us unique. And within that, there is great freedom and importance to be yourself in your leadership.

With that said, however, there are three broad leadership categories all leaders are measured in by those who follow them.

Before we dig into those three areas of leadership responsibility, I’d like to acknowledge an important fact.

All leaders are evaluated.

Even those who resist it.

(Evaluation is not the same as judgement. Evaluation is based on strengths with a bias of support and for improvement. Judgement is based on weakness with a bias for criticism or even condemnation.)

You may or may not have a formal annual review by a supervisor or a board of directors, but you are evaluated by those you follow you.

It’s not always even a conscious process, but don’t pretend it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t mean people aren’t grateful for your leadership; being assessed is just part of being a leader.

You are assessed on your:

  • Decisions
  • Words
  • Attitudes
  • Actions
  • Results

The results of your evaluation range from the possibly surface sounding issue of whether or not someone likes you, to the deeper issues of whether or not that person actually trusts, respects, and follows you.

The danger in knowing you are evaluated is the potential for you to fall prey to performance or people-pleasing.

Which, of course, are to be avoided at all costs.

The best way to embrace the evaluation of your leadership by your congregation is to evaluate yourself first and more rigorously than your followers would.

The idea of your congregation evaluating you doesn’t mean you report to everyone. Still, it does acknowledge that people make daily decisions of whether or not they will continue to follow your leadership.

(If you have a direct supervisor, it’s also wise to evaluate yourself and take action on your personal growth before your supervisor does.)

Let’s dive into the three broad categories of responsibility for which you are assessed for both capability and results.

3 Categories of Leadership Responsibility

(Note: This post acknowledges the elements of spiritual life and character as foundational to these three categories.)

1) Relational Savvy

Healthy, meaningful, and productive relationships always begin with connection, and that requires trust.

I like the word “savvy” because it says so much. It includes confidence, knowledge, and ability. It provides perception and understanding.

All of those ingredients are part of being self-aware as a leader.

The process works like this.

Heart ➡️ Connection ➡️ Trust ➡️ Follow

Here’s a brief summary of how these four words work together.

If you lead with your heart, people can connect with you. If people connect with you, they will trust you, and if they trust you, they will follow you.

If you read this process in reverse, it gains even greater clarity and insight.

People will not follow anyone they do not trust. They cannot trust someone they don’t connect with, and they can’t connect with someone with whom they cannot find their heart.

I’ve written an entire post on this, and you can read it here.

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Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.