Tax season is over and or audits are complete and I am ready to start living in 2008 and put 2007 to bed. Part of the problem in working with finances is you’re never quite sure what year you are actually living through. You work in the current year, 2008, and do audits for last year, 2007, and then you begin the budget for 2009. Due to this situation I am going to take my article space and write about leadership.
During the last few years I have been trying to read a number of books on leadership each year and they have affected my life in a multitude of different ways. In the last few months I have made a list of some leadership traits that I have been trying to ingrain into my life. I would like to share a couple of these with you.
Maintain Absolute Integrity
In the world we live in we find this quality in short supply. At church, the other day, I heard these words: reputation is what other people think about you, while integrity is what you know about yourself. That really struck home. What do you know about yourself that others don’t know about? The word of God has this to say, “simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.’ (Matthew 5:37). When you lose your integrity then it will be really hard for people to follow me or you.
Declare Your Vision
What is your vision? If you don’t know it then other people will have a hard time following you. If you don’t know where you’re going then how can people follow you? I saw a statement that said, “You should be able to state your vision in 25 words or less.” The CEO of Southwest Airlines said, “when you have a vision and someone comes to you with some convoluted idea, you can hold it up to the vision and ask: Does it fit the vision? If not, let it go.” Jesus said, “I have come to do the will of my Father.” What is your vision for your church? I am afraid that we many times make up our vision on the fly, or don’t even have a vision.
Expect Positive Results
Expect great things from God! I am not saying that we should accept the name it and claim it theology we find in the world today, but I am saying that we need to expect our great God to do great things. I was the pastor of two churches in our state and I went to those churches expecting God to do great and mighty things. He never let me down. I am afraid that I have been in a lot of churches where the pastor has limited expectations and the people have limited expectations and they get exactly what they expected. If the leader does not expect positive results then the people will never expect great things. Your vision should declare your expectations.
Take Care of Your People
It does not matter if this is in the office or in the church. The leader needs to take care of his/her people. Do they know that you care about them? Do they know that you think highly of them? Do you let them know that without them you would be much less effective? I was the pastor of two churches and we saw great things take place for God, I was effective because my staff was efficient and the lay staff was tremendous. I hope that I always let them know that I appreciated them and their work. The Bible consistently says, “Encourage one another.” Our world rarely takes care of its people, but the leader needs to take care of the people who work with him/her, or sit in the pews of their churches.
Be Willing to Make Decisions
If you are the leader, then the people will expect you to make decisions. I served on staff with a pastor that would never make a decision. It was the worst experience of my life. I understand that there are times when we need to go to the leadership of the church and consult them, but this shouldn’t take weeks. People need you to make decisions so they can move on. We don’t make decisions in a vacuum and we are not dictators, but people expect leaders to make decisions and to be decisive.