Monday, July 10, 2017

Lead... Who Me?

I'm not a leader....I'm too timid to tell others what to do, to make my point known, and I do everything possible to avoid confrontation - none of which are leadership qualifications.

When we think of the word “leader” it is easy to put into the same context as the word “boss” or “supervisor” or “CEO.” and we usually turn away and run. But leadership is behavior, and it is possible in any context.  Leadership can be done at home with your family, on the job, in the community, in church positions. 

Titus 2 is a foundational Scripture passage for women.  "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,  so that they may [a]encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored." It is not age specific, we are all 'older' than someone and are able to influence and guide someone 'younger' than us.  Leadership is based on influence and make no mistake about it, we all influence someone, the question is how are we influencing them?

 Anyone, no matter what position they hold, can step up and behave like a leader when leadership is called for.  This kind of ability isn’t given to you, you seize the opportunity—you recognize a need and you fill the need effectively.

A fascinating change has occurred in my attitude towards leadership.  Through the past few years, instead of avoiding it, I cautiously began to look into the subject. Some church ministries I am involved in have offered (or demanded!) growth in this area. As I began learning more about leadership, it wasn't as intimidating as I imagined!  Instead of having to be mean, assertive, bossy and up front, it provided the opportunity to connect deeper with others in a manner that had the ability to draw them out and allow them to be the best they can  be.  An added benefit is our personal growth. As we grow, we become more confident and seek to be the best we can be.  Leadership can encompass beautiful things such as adding value to others, learning to listen with the heart to understand others, to guide and make ways smoother, communication better, to seek one the good of one another. It is a fascinating subject that when embraced becomes a valuable lifestyle. It is surely a gift worth opening to look into! 

Where to begin? What does it take to be a good leader?  Here are a few thoughts: 

1.    It takes awareness.  You must be aware of the need for leadership.  For example, if there is a fire in your home and someone needs to calmly help people get to safety, there is a strong need for someone to take charge and lead others with the calm and organized and sensitive manner that is required. What situations arise around you that need someone to lead?

2.    It takes good communication skills.  Being a leader is about being clear and concise.  Leadership communications are inspiring, and insightful.  They should inform, motivate, guide or direct, but also invite further discussion.  Even an introvert like myself can grow in these areas.  These are learned skills that perfect the more they are practiced. 

3.    It takes humility.  Being a leader means doesn’t mean that it is all about you all the time.  There are many times when a good leader puts others first and builds them up to lead in their own way.  There are also times when the leader must recognize what he/she does not know, and must learn from others.  A good leader knows their strengths and weaknesses.  They use their strengths but seek out those who are better in those areas of weakness than they are. If creativity, organization, compassion, preparation are not your gifts, surround yourself with those who do have the gift. Working together bring all of our strengths to the table to be used. 

4.    It takes consistency.  If you only take a leadership position or action once, others may appreciate it but won’t necessarily think of you as a leader.  However, if you take a leadership position or action again and again, others will see that pattern and will begin to think of you as a leader.  For example, if there is a difficult student or client that your team members encounter often, and you make it clear that you are available to help, people respect you and appreciate you for that.  In time, they even come expect it of you as a leader in this area. Find something that you like to do and do it well. That is how leadership is born. 

5.    It takes a positive attitude.  Leaders believe in others and in the fact that positive outlook and behavior can make a difference.  They aren’t naive about difficult situations, but they do believe that those situations can be managed towards a good outcome. An eye and an attitude to see things not as they are but as they can be can make all the difference in the world. Everyone has value and gifts that are waiting to be unwrapped. Every person has a desire to make a difference.  May we find and help them to discover how to do that. 

Currently I"m intentionally seeking resources to grow in the knowledge of leadership.  There are many inspiring and interesting books, articles, podcasts that assist in growing and learning.  I'll be sharing more in the days to come what inspires me and can in turn inspire you. 

But be encouraged to open the lid to the subject of leadership.  Pray and be open to the areas God would have you to be a godly influence over. 

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