Leadership cannot be practiced in a vacuum. It is not effected alone. Leadership requires others, multiple people. To be an effective leader you must have people following your lead. Position doesn’t make a leader. Just because you were elected or appointed to a leadership position, does not make you a leader. As a person in leadership you should ask yourself, “Are people following me because of my leadership personality, or because of position?” If they are following because of the position or title you hold, you need to seriously consider your leadership skills and ability.
Truly effective leaders understand effective leadership stems from the followship of others. The success of any leader depends upon those who will follow. When people see value in your abilities and skills, they will follow. When people follow in this manner, you will see a productive workforce (team) and high morale amongst employees/volunteers. Retention rates soar while turnover shrinks. Every leader should have three groups of “others” assisting him/her in leadership.
First, someone to whom he or she is responsible. Every leader is responsible and accountable to someone or some group. In large corporations most leaders have a “higher up” or up-line supervisor. The CEO or president has a Board of Directors. Even the founder and owner of a small business is accountable to someone. If no one else, his business clients. Without accountability he will not keep clients. I have had pastors tell me they are accountable to no-one but God. This is dangerous, and not the plan I read in God’s word, The Holy Bible. Most churches, like other organizations have a leadership accountability ladder. Every person in every organization from family to a fortune 500 corporation is accountable.
God has positioned these accountability systems in place to allow us the ability to grow and learn from others. Even if you are in an organization where you hold the highest position of leadership, find other leaders to whom you can learn and be held accountable. You will see your leadership ability grow.
Second, every leader needs a group of peers for support and discipleship. If you are a leader, you should be a disciple of leadership – healthy leadership practices. Your peers hold similar positions, either in your organization or similar organizations. These peers face similar trials and successes as you. They also can spot your weaknesses and support you in growing through those weaknesses. Your peers can be a great learning and building resource. However, a word of caution; do not build a volley of peers who will only be sympathetic moaners, agreeing with your grievances. Your group of peers should be supportive encouragers, who care enough to correct you and assist you in strengthening your effective leadership.
Third, every leader must have followers. Too many leaders see these as underlings or subjects. A leader should always view the people serving under our leadership as the individuals who will make or break our leader potential. When we view and treat these as lesser than ourselves, we are setting the organization and our own leadership on the course of failure. As a leader, your greatest desire should be to elevate the people you lead to their greatest potential. You are leading people, not numbers or statistics.
Leadership is not done in a vacuum, nor can it be accomplished alone.
George Yates is an Organizational Health Strategist and Life Purpose Coach , assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.