Leaders, what is your goal?
I love the topic of leadership. I listen to countless podcasts, read leadership books, and research leadership blogs consistently because I never want to stop growing as a leader.
One of my favorite leadership podcasts is by Craig Groeschel, the senior pastor of Life.Church. He did a series called, “The Six Types of Leaders,” outlining leadership tendencies, what kind of followers these types of leaders produce, and how to grow.
You can find part II here.
The fifth type of leader was “The Healthy Leader.” The Healthy Leader does leadership right, and produces faithful followers. However, the last type of leader is “The Empowering Leader.” The Empowering Leader takes healthy leadership a step further and does not produce merely faithful followers, but the empowering leader produces other great leaders.
This is our ultimate goal with leadership, to produce other great leaders. Not to increase our numbers in our ministry groups or church, or even to get the word out about your ministry and become nationally and internationally well-known, but to impart and empower those we were entrusted to lead to become great leaders – even better than what we currently are.
How do we make the transition into empowering leaders?
There are four specific areas that we can focus on in order to grow into becoming empowering leaders.
Mentorship is vital in leadership. Not only should you be seeking out leaders that are ahead of you in life and ministry in order to be poured into, you should actively be seeking out those around you to mentor and invest in.
There is so much value in mentorship for spiritual reasons like encouragement, accountability, and prayer. But there are also more practical reasons for mentoring as well: feedback. When we have someone in our lives, whom we trust, we are able to ask the tough questions and receive the tough answers about who we are as a leader, how our organization is being run, and maybe even the mistakes we are making in ministry.
We tend to think that investing into others needs to be all encouragement with no constructive criticism, but we can still give (and receive) correction lovingly to help those around us (as well as ourselves) improve.
Jesus is a great example of this with Peter. How many times do we see Jesus lovingly correct Peter in his mindsets and ministry? A lot.
Jesus could have seen Peter’s mistakes and prayed for or encouraged him throughout them, but He didn’t! He corrected Peter because He knew that Peter was going to be that rock where His church was going to be built upon. Peter had to grow as a leader to get there, and encouragement and prayer was not solely going to do it.
Leaders who are open and honest about leadership mistakes they have made have a sense of vulnerability with those around them. This produces trust and transparency between you and those you lead. This also produces a healthy mindset in leadership that it is okay to fail, and failure is a part of the process.
Failure is inevitable, and dare I say vital. When we discover what fails in our leadership, we are closer to discovering what works. When we fail, we learn, we adjust, and then we try again. We should not hide our failures from our team, but be vulnerable with them.
Leaders who produce other great leaders lead by example. We commonly hear the term, “practice what you preach.” When we lead others by example, we produce authenticity within our organization, church, or ministry.
Words mean nothing nowadays. We see pastors, politicians, and great leaders preaching for what they stand for, and what is “right,” but then receive word in the media that they were caught in an affair, with a drinking problem, or some other controversial scandal.
I’m not saying that people and leaders don’t make mistakes, but I am saying that people look at you as an example, and what they see you do: how you respond to that upset church member, the way you talk about other members of your team with frustration, the way you treat your spouse, and follow that example.
When we lead with integrity and through example, we are producing great leaders who will do the same.
Healthy leaders listen to their team, but empowering leaders take listening a step further and begin delegating those ideas and collaborations to their team members. Often in leadership, we think that because we are the leader, we are the ones that have to do it all. This mindset is totally opposite of what empowering leaders do.
Delegating tasks to those on your team produces a confidence in them, as well as a trust that makes a statement. It also begins to foster that leadership gifting in them, fulfilling our goal to produce great leaders. I’ve heard it said that if you think someone on your team can do a task or project at least 60% as well as you can, delegate it to them. It may not be perfect, but the goal is not perfection, it is growth.
You can have control, or you can have growth, but you can’t have both.
In order to develop great leaders, we have to make mentorship a priority, be vulnerable with our team, lead by example, and delegate to empower those on our teams. I can sum it up this way: If you want to develop great leaders, take the focus off of yourself and place it on those you desire to impart to.
This is our goal.
Jesus is our example.