The question we all have as we lead is how can we make a lasting impact. What I have learned over the years is that to make a lasting impact, you have to learn how to be a 360 degree leader. You have to make sure and lead those above, across, and below you in the organization.
Easier said than done! In a messy leadership situation—in a church without clear direction—we often struggle to know how to lead. Truth is, you simply have to commit to lead through the mess or walk away. You have to lead with a 360 degree mindset.
The need to lead up never ends; no matter what your role is, you are going to have people in authority over you. For some of you, it’s a pastor. For some, it’s a board or a committee. For some, it’s an Executive Pastor, a board, an administrator, and a Senior Pastor. You have a list of people over you.
If we walked around the room and were honest, we could all list five things our senior leaders are doing wrong and reveal their weak spots in leading. You can do this because you are a leader and leaders see these kinds of things. We are consumed with forward progress and problem solving, so it’s natural to see the problems of those above us. Let go of the guilt, stop complaining, start leading up.
1. Embrace authority
Treat those in authority over you as you want the people who you lead to treat you.
2. Build the relationship
You have to work on getting to know who your leaders are. Connect with them. Support them. Hang out with them. Don’t avoid relationships with people in authority over you, no matter how you feel about their leadership ability. Influence flows from relationship.
3. Deliver consistently
When we do great work, our superiors learn they can trust us. Build trust by doing great and consistent work. Make your area one that thrives.
4. Discover your leader’s strengths
Your senior leader is good at something. Discover that and then add value to that strength.
5. Fill the gap
Add value to your organization by working carefully to fill the gaps being undone by your senior leadership.
6. Publicly support
Public support leads to private influence and access.
The strength of an organization is revealed in the strength of the leaders in the middle of the organization. Leading across is not a one-time event, not a project; it’s an ongoing process!
1. Care about more than just what is on your to-do list
Leading across well starts with the heart. When I care about the health of my church, I can start caring for the leaders of the church.
2. Don’t pretend to be the perfect leader
That leader does not exist. If you are trapped into trying to appear perfect, people will naturally resist your influence. Be real, not perfect.
3. Build bridges, not silos
See how each ministry in your church can support the other and stop keeping your resources and influence trapped in a silo, saved for only your ministry.
4. Develop authentic friendships
Discover who the people around you are, not just what they do for the organization.
5. Strive for production, not politics
Resist the temptation to advance your ministry by stepping on the people around you. Think long term, not short term.
Lead the people who serve under your leadership with the same principles you would embrace if you led the entire organization. Don’t ever allow the frustrations you have with the direction of your organization to deter your effort to provide effective leadership to the people you lead. You are not born a great leader; you become a great leader as you lead. As you lead, you are actually in a continual leadership lab.
1. Walk slowly
Walk the halls of the ministry you lead slowly, getting to know the people you are leading. Slow down long enough to actually connect with people you are leading. Quality relationships are the foundation of effective leadership.
2. Believe in your team
Look for potential and ability when you look at your team, not always at their weaknesses. Everyone needs someone to believe in them … be that to the people you lead.
3. Give away opportunities to lead
Make sure and take the spotlight off yourself and shine it on other leaders.
4. Model the behavior you desire
It’s not what a leader says that will last, it’s what a leader does, day-to-day, that will be repeated in the organization.
5. Continually repeat the vision
People have to know the “why” if they are ever going to be able to do the “what” with passion.
6. Reward results
When you see the results you want, reward it. Don’t take it for granted. What is rewarded and recognized will be repeated.