Teams need leaders who are willing to be authentic. They need leaders who are not worried about their title and prestige, but about the health of the team. An authentic leader will serve as a GUIDE for the entire team.
GENUINE--the very nature of the word authentic. A genuine leader is the real deal. Authentic leaders are who they claim to be. An authentic leader will not demand respect of those who follow under her care, but rather, seek to earn this by demonstrating that they are of equal status. They are approachable. They allow others to see them as real. They're real people with real issues too. An authentic leader does life with people, not within a self-created pastoral bubble.
UNWAVERING--The authentic leader is always aware of where the team is heading. No one likes to follow someone who is lost. We like to follow someone who is keenly aware of the destination. An authentic leader will draw others to him or herself because of un-wavering focus upon the vision. The vision will propel the team forward and authentic leader challenges the team towards the end.
INTERMEDIARY--An authentic leader serves on behalf of his team. He's the go between. She serves as an advocate. The team knows that the leader is in it for the betterment of the team.
DEPENDABLE--an authentic leader is a man/woman of his/her word. He can be counted on and trusted. The team knows that the authentic leader wants nothing more than to see them succeed and will resource and equip them to do so.
ENCOURAGER--An authentic leader sees that his job is to equip others for success. He does not see that his primary role is to build himself. If, as pastors, we've been called to "equip the saints" then our focus should be upon that. An authentic leader
encourages every possible chance he gets.
Mother Theresa was perhaps one of the finest examples of an authentic GUIDE leader. She challenge people to grow and created an environment that enabled others to succeed. She lived her life in front of others and never made demands of those she served alongside.
Can you think of some examples of authentic leaders? What sets them apart?
How about you? What can you do to set yourself apart as an authentic leader?
Some practical thoughts on becoming a GUIDE
- Don't insist upon the title. What if we didn't worry so much about the "pastor" in front of our name? Sometimes the overuse of the title broadens the gap between us and our team. I believe in the call of the pastor and the special gifts given by the Holy Spirit that empower one for ministry but sometimes, we are so adamant that people use the term "pastor" in front of our name that we are seen differently than we'd intended.
Do life with people: go out for dinner with team members after church. Take them a cupcake during their lunch break. Attend important moments in their lives.
Really listen. Sometimes we get to involved on Sundays with what else needs to be done that we neglect to look people in the eye or really listen.
Invite them into your space: let them feel welcome in your home environment.
Stay in close contact with them. Discover their struggles and find ways to commit to prayer on their behalf.
Encourage them often. Schedule reminders in your calendar to thank staff quarterly with a written note or a fun gift?
Praise them publically. Write posts on YOUR Facebook wall saying how much you appreciate staff. Call them out by name and let people know what an important part of your team this person is. Thank them in your bulletin from time to time.
- Let them know when you struggle. Obviously, don't become a Debbie Downer but it is ok to let people know when you struggle too. Many times, people have the impression that, as pastors, we're on our preverbal pedestal.
- Resource them. Find great parenting books or spiritual development books and get them in their hands. Give them resources to make their lives easier.