August 10, 2011

Leadership Tidbits

I am not an expert in, well anything really (not yet anyway). Leadership is no exception. I am a rookie leader in everything I do. Never the less over the past few years of leading/pastoring I have learned a few tidbits, which I shall share now.

I feel I ought to repeat myself I am not a seasoned leader. I am a rookie. Everything I am passing on here has come from mistakes I have made over the past few years. I am not standing on high filled with answers. Instead I am passing on my tidbits of knowledge in the hopes that you may pass on yours, so together we can all make it to that elusive place known as 'seasoned leader'. So without further ado here are my tidbits;

Trust Your Gut- I have a well developed gut. No not that one. Well I guess I kind of have that one too. But the gut I mean is the sense that tells you if something is a good idea or a bad idea. There has never been a time when I trusted my gut feeling and regretted it. However there have been numerous times I have ignored my gut gone against my better judgement and did regret it. Now I am not saying that I am never wrong, there have been lots of times where I have been wrong. They have just never been at the fault of my gut.

Whatever you do, if you are a leader, trust your gut.

Communicating Early Does Not Replace Communicating Often- What can I say I loved university, at least my M.Div. And one of the things that I enjoyed the most was the syllabus. I loved knowing exactly what was happening, and when it was happening. So I took that zeal and applied it to my leadership. I created calendars, charts, one year goals, three year goals, vision statements, and mission statements I created values and job descriptions. And when I was done creating them I passed them out and I expected everyone to remember. But they did not. People forgot the goals, the calendars, the vision and mission statements, the flow charts and the job descriptions. I can't blame them. They had lives outside of the ministry I was running. I did not. Syllabuses may work in universities, but they do not work in real life.

If you forget to tell people often they will forget you told them at all.

Let's Learn And Lead Together

No One Around You Can Read Minds- Call this the second lesson in communication, but it is true people cannot read your mind. I have this terrible habit of thinking that because I know something other people do to. So if I know that I am grateful for someone doing something, I sort of assume they know it too even if I have never said anything.

Call it the obvious tip of the day but, if you haven't said it chances are they don't know it.

Teams Complete Successful Journey, But Captains Go Down With The Ship- This has been the hardest lesson I have had to learn thus far. I hope that Now that I have learned it I will not need to be reminded of it. But ministry typically is about working with team. You may well be the leader, but in the end that doesn't matter very much. You job is to help everyone else do their jobs. If you do that well you will hear scores of praise for your team and the work they did. Someone may or may not compliment you directly but by on large the praise you hear for your team is the praise you will hear. And of course this is fine since we are not in this for praise. However, the reverse is not true. If you do your job incorrectly if your team fails in some way the criticism has only one path to travel strait to you. Again in a lot of ways this is how it ought to be. The buck has to stop somewhere, you are that somewhere. Now this leaves us in a rather difficult position. Because to successfully leader other leaders you need to give them space to do their work. However you are responsible for whatever they do so you cannot leave them totally alone either. I can't give you a perfect formula. I suspect none exists (however if I am wrong and you know it please share) instead you need to get to know your team well, and meet with them often. You have to be fully aware of what is going on, without being controlling. Learning to balance these two truths will be difficult but also crucial.

Remember you have to give them enough rope to move around but not enough to hang YOU with.

There you have it, a sampling of some tidbits that I have picked up. What about you, what have leadership tidbits have you learned?