A good leader inspires people to do something bigger than themselves. In the case of churches and para-church groups, the Great commission along with the Great Commandment are the driving reasons for all we do. In order to make a difference, we need to work together to accomplish key objectives. I believe that we are truly better together and that means pooling our strengths and resources to achieve God’s mission.
It would be nice to have everyone naturally do their part. The bottom line is that leadership is needed. Effective leadership to be more precise! Positional leadership alone won’t get things accomplished. Power tripping egos have no place trying to lead well-intentioned followers of Jesus.
So what does an effective leader look like?
A good leader helps their team members become the absolute best version of themselves.
Winston Churchill, in inspiring the people of England to keep fighting in WWII, is a great example of leadership. Thanks to his inspirational leadership, the people of England made great sacrifices in their fight against the evil Nazi regime.
A leader is different than an organizer.
An organizer gathers resources and deploys them in the most effective manner. Organizers bring people together, but they don’t necessarily inspire them to take big, bold action. We need organizers in the body of Christ, but the gift of organization doesn’t make one an effective leader.
We could say it like this: Organizers are about efficiency while leaders are about vision.
What traits and talents characterize a good leader?
Here are three characteristics of highly effective leaders:
#1 Effective Leaders Are Vision Carriers
An effective leader has a clear vision of where they aspire to go and how they’re going to get there. They understand where they currently are (self-awareness) and are crystal clear on what it’s going to take for the team and organization to get to where they want to be.
The leader must be able to communicate this vision clearly to his team.
#2 Effective Leaders Are Motivational
An effective leader is skilled at motivating people. They know what makes others tick and are able to tap into those emotional triggers. Through their words and actions, they are able to motivate people to do things that are critical to long-term success.
These leaders are able to share the “why behind the “what”
#3 Effective Leaders Are Servants at Heart
The best leaders are those who serve their followers. They seek to serve their team and make their team as effective as possible. They support their team members in whatever ways they can rather than constantly focusing on their own agenda and what they want to accomplish
#4 Effective Leaders Are Empathetic
I believe that a truly effective leader is able to place themselves in the shoes of others. If they want to create consensus among their team, they must be able to understand the concerns of others and effectively respond to those concerns.
Life is busy and people deal with various challenges. The effective leader understands this and is able to relate and show care for those who are on the team.
#5 Effective Leaders Are Creative
A highly effective leader is creative when it comes to achieving goals. They use their imagination to look beyond what is directly in front of them to see what’s truly possible. I’ve heard it said that we can make a difference or we can make excuses, but rarely can you do both. Effective leaders don’t let a lack of funds stop them! Effective leaders don’t allow problems to be the final say! They’re able to take a step back and look for options that move the ball downfield.
One last little nugget:
None of these characteristics on their own makes for a good leader. The best leaders possess a combination of some, if not all of these characteristics.
I would love to hear your input on the subject of effective leadership. It’s so important for us church leaders to not only lead but lead well.