As I reflect on the lessons, experiences, and challenges this year, I wanted to share 20 key elements of leadership. If we remember and intentionally pay attention to developing the character traits that allow us to keep these key elements in focus, we will glorify God and serve others well.
1. Promote Unity. Jesus reminds us that unity of spirit confirms the gospel’s message (John 17: 20-23)
2. Challenge others to reach their full potential in God. (2 Tim 1: 6-7)
3. Lead by example. Model the behavior that you want to see in others. (John 13: 1-17)
4. Pray a lot! (Col 1: 9-10, Eph 1:16-21, 1 Sam 12:23)
6. Plan. As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Throughout the Bible we see overwhelming evidence that all plans and decisions should be preceded by prayer.
7. Take time to go the extra mile. Everything we do is a reflection of God. We want our work to bring him glory. (Matt 5: 16)
8. Take Risks and Embrace Change. The work of Christ is finished and yet God is actively at work redeeming his creation. In this “now but not yet” period of waiting, we must be sensitive to what God wants to do through us “now” and not get so comfortable in our “saved” position that we resist rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. Let us be eager to do what is good. (Titus 2: 11-14)
9. Serve. (Luke 22: 26-27)
10. Be a Peacemaker and Manage Conflict. The gospel does not make Christians enemies of each other, rather it brings us together with God and others. The gospel is the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
11. Ask the right questions. Ask yourself regularly, “What am I pretending not to know?” Ask similar questions of your family, friends, team members, and co-workers.
12. Have honest conversations. Honest conversations help us to confront our fears.
13. Listen. Sometimes we are too distracted with the noise and busyness of this life that we lose perspective and miss what God is trying to teach us. Listening requires stillness before God and others. Listening requires presence.
14. Build relationships. The Bible is an eastern book where relationships are highly valued. Throughout the Bible, God emphasizes our relationship to him, but also our relationships with each other. People need people (Gen 2: 18). We all need friends.
15. Give a vision and communicate clearly and consistently. Sometimes I chuckle when I read the dialog between Jesus and his disciples. Sometimes even Jesus seemed frustrated with delivering the same message over and over. “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time (John 14: 9)?” Jesus often answered the disciples’ questions with questions of his own, indicating “You should know this by now.” Tell them. Tell them. Tell them again.
17. Build Solid Teams and Delegate Responsibility. In many ways, this element will inevitably be accomplished by following the other items on the list. Jesus picked his 12 and that team began a multiplying effort which continues to this day. Train people to go out and do the work that God has called them to do. (Eph. 4: 11-16)
18. Practice hospitality. (Rom. 12: 13)
20. Lead and minister in context. So much of leadership centers on knowing the environment and people in which you have been called to lead. We observe Jesus sharing the same message in different ways throughout the gospel. He taught in some places; in other places, he performing miracles or healing. Some of his encounters were intimate 1-to-1 experiences while others were with huge crowds. We have to be discerning about what God is calling us to do, when he is calling us to do it, and where we can best serve his kingdom and his people.
What are some of your leadership reminders from this year?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011