Anytime you’re responsible for something that involves other people, you are, by default, in a position of Leadership.
As a Parent, a CEO, a Teacher, a Coach, a Minister – you are a Leader and with that position comes an amazing opportunity to not just accomplish whatever needs to be done, but to also influence those who are in your charge in a way that makes them feel better about themselves.
That’s the difference between Managing and Leading.
With Managing, you’re just moving things around. But when you Lead, not only are you getting the job done – whatever that job may be – but you’re creating an environment where the people who are actually doing the work are not just present, they’re engaged. They don’t want to simply execute, they want to perform.
And if you’re doing it right, the energy and the passion with which your subordinates do their job inevitably spills over to other areas of their life and they don’t just improve in the context of those things they’re responsible for, but they become better people.
That’s why great Leaders are often so admired and appreciated. It’s not just what they do, it’s who they are and the Light they shine doesn’t just provide direction, but it also provides inspiration and you want to follow their example.
But how do you get it done?
How do you become a great Leader?
Some just seem to be born with the ability to organize resources and motivate their people, but like anything else, regardless of your personality or how your brain is wired, you can watch great Leaders in action and identify certain techniques and characteristics that when properly deployed make a big difference.
Bear in mind that there’s an enormous amount of studies and instructional material that have been developed, most of which is excellent. The Marine Corps has a whole curriculum that focuses exclusively on the art of power and how to lead.
For the sake of this discussion, we’ll reference some of what comes from the USMC as well as several other professional entities, but we’re going to look at just three things that translate to an approachable and effective way to ensure that you’re not just managing, but you’re truly leading.
And part of what makes these three things so effective is that they’re coming from Scripture so you can rest assured these aren’t just “good ideas,” but they’re solid Truths.
Hypocricy is a deal breaker. As a Teacher you shouldn’t expect your students to do their homework if you’re never prepared for class yourself. As a Fitness Professional, you can’t hope to make an impact in the way you tell your clients how to lose weight if you’re not in shape yourself (Matt 7:3-4).
Don’t ever ask someone to do something you’re unwilling to do yourself. Don’t insist on a standard that you don’t try to live up to (1 Pet 2:12,15).
Be ready to teach what needs to be done and model the kind of behavior you want to see in others so they can see, not only how to do it, but why it makes a difference (1 Cor 4:16; 2 Thess 3:6-10).
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matt 7:3-4)
Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (1 Cor 4:16)
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thess 3:6-10)
12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us…15For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. (1 Pet 2:12, 15)
Whatever it is that needs to be done can be presented in one of two ways:
- You can present it as an Obligation
- You can offer it as an Invitation
The thing that distinguishes the difference between an Obligation and an Invitation is the extent to which you as a Leader explain why it is that your subordinates would want to do what needs to be done.
Why is it important? Why are you uniquely qualified to get it done? How does it benefit you? Why will others appreciate the sacrifice of time and effort that will be required?
Explain what needs to be done in a way where your listener is made to feel like the hero in their own story (Josh 1:8; Jn 10:10; Rom 12:1-2; Phil 2:13).
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Josh 1:8)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn 10:10)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom 12:1-2)
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Phil 2:13)
There’s a difference between flattering somone and genuinely complimenting them.
When you say something positive, yet trite, it’s easy to dismiss it as pointless and even manipulative.
On the other hand, when you say something that makes a person feel valued, you’re breathing life into them (Eph 2:10; 1 Thess 5:11). People like being around those that make them feel good about themselves (Matt 5:14-16). The world can be a very critical and negative space. Most people are very familiar with those areas in their life that need improvement and rarely do they operate in an environment that doesn’t seemingly exaggerate those areas to the exclusion of everything else.
Reminding those you lead of their strengths and their capacity to do great things can feel like the sun breaking through the clouds in the mind of those who tend to focus more on what needs to change than that which constitutes something to be proud of.
And that’s everybody!
You’ll never run into someone who doesn’t appreciate a good compliment!
Give your people a reason to feel good about who they are and what they do (Eph 2:10).
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thess 5:11)