We are all called to lead in some way or another. Whether you are a barista, a church pastor, a stay at home mom or the CEO of a large corporation, you are called to have a positive influence on the people around you. And although some don’t consider themselves “natural leaders”, there are ways that we can position ourselves to maximize the impact that we have on those around us. This is far from a comprehensive list, but here are some thoughts:
1. Show value for people. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. It’s ok to want results, but don’t allow your love for results to become greater than your love for people. Seek heart connection. Get to know the people you are leading. Let them know that you’re thankful for them. It’s amazing what people will accomplish when they know they are truly valued.
2. Be intentional. People rarely become great leaders by mistake. It takes effort. Even leaders who are “naturally gifted” need to continually do things that they don’t feel like doing. Put things in your calendar that need to get done and follow through. Good leadership takes discipline.
3. Never stop learning. The best leaders are the best learners. The moment we feel like we have “arrived” is the moment we will start to level off in our influence and effectiveness. If there’s an area you want to grow in, read a book regarding that area or find a mentor who will pour into you.
4. Exercise humility. Some consider humility to be a weakness. In reality, it is one of the greatest strengths one can possess. Be open to the perspectives and ideas of the people you lead. Don’t think that you have to have all the answers, and don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”. People will respect you more for being honest rather than trying to have an answer for everything.
5. Display confidence. There’s a big difference between arrogance and confidence. Arrogance is usually rooted in insecurity and a need to prove something. Confidence, on the other hand is an inner courage that comes from knowing that you are called and equipped for a given purpose. When you show confidence, the people you are leading feel safe.
6. Ask for feedback. I was mentored by someone who continually asked for feedback. When he was finished speaking at a conference he would say, “I want you to tell me two things you liked about what I shared and one thing I could do to improve”. Keep in mind, this was coming from a man who had been public speaking for many years. Asking for feedback communicates value and helps you to further develop as a leader.
7. Get a life! It’s important for leaders to know how to relax and have fun. The more you enjoy life the more people will want to follow you. Recreation also promotes creativity. Make sure you have a day off and do things that you really enjoy. Try not to take yourself too seriously. You may be a leader, but you’re not the answer to every human problem.
Have a great day!