It’s one thing to desire to be in leadership … it’s another to actually lead people.
As I watch other leaders, consider my own life in leadership or think about all the people I have had on my staff, there are some common denominators in those that are effective in leadership. I can also think of a few commonalities I see hindering effective leadership. These are often missed at first glance, but over time they are usually seen clearly by those that open their eyes.
There are many definitions of leadership, but the one I refer to the most is: Leaders get people to do things they never wanted to do, and like it.
This definition has the idea of being able to positively affect someone’s actions AND desires. These leaders can get to the heart of someone in ways that cause movement. From a spiritual leadership position, where we view this as being used by God for His kingdom purposes, this is a lot of fun. Mature leaders are hard to come by sometimes, but we have some phenomenal leaders in the church today. That said, there are also a bunch of “wanna-be” leaders that inevitably hinder their own leadership potential by thinking wrongly in the following two ways:
- They take themselves more seriously than their work. Effective leaders take their work seriously, but don’t take themselves that seriously. This allows them to encourage other people to lead and empower creativity/ingenuity in others. If leaders take themselves too seriously, they protect their position and seek to control what other people are doing through either micromanagement or overly assigning things to do. This would be, at best, a manager—not a leader.
- They think they need a position to lead well. I know a lot of people who think they need to have a position before they can lead effectively. Granted, we do need a voice in people’s lives to positively effect them, but our lives are what give us that voice. If a position is required to lead people, you are not a leader. This mentality will actually hinder your leadership in the long-run.
What do you think? Have you seen either of these characteristics in yourself?