Are leaders born as leaders? Is it just part of their DNA to lead others?
WHAT KIND OF LEADER ARE YOU?
What is your natural bent in your leadership style? What does your character bring to the table as to the kind of leader you are?
I find that some people identify themselves and how they respond to life as to their family of origin! For example, they might say… I am Irish; or I’m Scottish; or I’m from a Slavic decent. While our family backgrounds may have some bearing on what we look like, or maybe a speaking accent, the fact for every believer is that following receiving Christ as Saviour and Lord, we receive a new nature. Our character becomes ever-transforming to the image of Christ. How we respond to life and to others in life, begins to be shaped by Holy Spirit. If you are hot-headed and easily become angry, don’t blame that on an Irish heritage. If you are stingy and have a difficult time being generous, don’t say that it is because you have Scottish-blood. Rather, bring those natural “bents” under the control and work of Holy Spirit.
So, as a Leader, how are you wired?
- As a leader, do you want people to agree with your way because you feel it is truly the best way?
- Do you lead most often out of compromise for what others want?
- Do you lead by hoping someone else will make the decision or plan so you’ll be off the hook?
- Do you feel it is necessary for you to be in control?
Even though your natural style might be a certain way, with God’s power, you can change and be transformed to be the kind of leader God wants you to be.
I believe there are two styles of “team leadership” that you need to guard against. These two styles are often the most welcoming approaches for leading a team. These styles can appear to make the job as pastor take the least amount of work, but in reality they both will lead to a lack of health for you as the leader, for your leadership team, and for the body you are leading. I believe both of these approaches to leading a team are extremes that will stifle a balance and will hinder you being a healthy leader, and then your team and the church from being healthy.
The first extreme is:
- The “We are All the Leader” Team.
This style says “We are all equals and we all have the same role!”. The Pastor’s approach is to ask everyone else on the team “What do you think we should do?” In this style, everyone on the team doesn’t just have a voice, but they can end up creating their own agendas and the result is a pulling of the team and the church in multiple directions.
This style often leads to disunity and division. It will lead to an inattention to vision. It creates a “me mindset” and ultimately it develops a lack of commitment to seeking the best for the whole body. This style may seem like the most democratic, and can make a pastor to feel protected from making any mistakes.
Another extreme to guard yourself from is:
- The “One Leader” Team.
This style of leading the team says “There is only one leader and the rest are here to serve the one true leader.” The Pastor’s approach might be: “I am God’s anointed and appointed leader. This is what we are doing. Get on board or get out.” The title “dictator” rather than “pastor” or leader might be a better identity. This approach to leadership leads to a lack of creativity on the team, a lack of unity, a lack of trust, and ultimately for the one “true” leader, an avoidance of accountability.
These first two approaches are unhealthy and basically unproductive for creating a healthy leadership environment for the team and for the ministry you are leading.
So, what is the best approach in being the primary leader on a team?
The “Leader of Leaders” Team
The Pastor is the leader of leaders. The Pastor seeks to bring every member of the team into their full potential as leaders creating an environment for value and creativity. They say “This is what I believe God is directing us to do. What is God saying to you? Let’s talk this over and listen to what God is saying to each of us on this team.”
In George Barna’s book, “The Power of Team Leadership”, he says “Many churchgoers have no choice but to consume ministry because they are not invited and prepared to do ministry… ministry is often a result of pastors who reject the possibilities afforded by team leadership… By excluding lay leaders from exercising their gifts, the church becomes just another example of professional service delivery: trained and certified professionals (clergy) providing goods and services needed or desired by consumers (congregation).”
Barna identifies some reasons why the leader of leaders approach to team leadership is the most beneficial. Here are some he lists:
- Biblical endorsement – examples throughout scripture of the benefit of team uses the analogy of the human body and the various parts working together.
- No more superheroes – the superhero mentality has stifled some from ever considering being a leader in God’s Kingdom. Very dangerous for the body and the individual who thinks they are a superhero.
- True community – being part of a community is not just gathering under one roof on a Sunday but it is moving together with one purpose and one voice.
- Less stress – When there is a team working, one person is not taking the whole load. When a team is carrying the load together, the pastor is freed to deliver what he/she has been uniquely called and gifted to do. When there is less stress and burnout, pastors have greater joy in their vocation, and then they tend to stay longer.
- Greater synergy and more innovation – Barna says about synergy – “Teams don’t just increase the impact of leaders, they multiple them several times over.” We will make better decisions when we include others in the process. Great teams are made up of those who think and see differently. The Leader of leaders provides the process that makes sure that everyone on the team has a voice.
In Ephesians 4:16, the team style of leadership is described by Christ’s relationship to His Body: From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
God never enabled one person with every gift to achieve His plans. It is through mutual reliance that leaders achieve the highest potential in their own life and then in the life of the whole body.
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