Yes, it is that time of year when everyone has a resolution to make themselves a better, skinnier, healthier, person. Unfortunately, most people do not hold onto their resolutions. Luckily, this post is NOT about making a resolution! But, it is about becoming a better leader which every single one of us should be striving towards in this coming year. Leaders are learners and there is always room for us to become better leaders. Here are 5 ways you can lead better starting now.
1. Have a focused vision
Know where you are going. Have a focused, clear vision for where you want to go in 2016. Often times we have a vague idea of where we want to end up but we never put it into a cohesive vision and communicate it to our teams. Cast a clear vision, write it down, communicate it well, and let people know where you are going so you can work together to figure out how to get there.
2. Understand your strengths
Quit trying to be well rounded and begin focusing on the things you are good at. Have enough humility to delegate the things with which you do not excel at. I know this can be very difficult and sometimes impossible for youth workers who wear many hats just to keep your ministry running. I honestly have a blog post in my queue to write entitled “be well rounded” because we as youth workers do need to wear so many hats. But the more I think about it the more it is clear that the best way to lead is to lead out of your strengths. Know where you need help and where you should delegate. Even if you don’t have anyone to delegate to right now, start identifying the type of person you need to find to complement your strengths.
3. Build thriving teams by building thriving team members
Pour into people. Your team gets stronger when each individual link gets stronger. Be concerned for each individual of your team. I know your time is valuable and taking a concern for each member of your team doesn’t mean that you personally mentor each one of them, but it does mean that you make it a priority to make sure that someone is pouring into them. It does mean that you pray for them individually, by name, and you are there for them when they need you. Leading well comes when we care for those we are leading.
4. Love people enough to be real with them
This is one of the toughest parts of being a leader. Tough conversations are tough! To be honest I hate them, my stomach gets in knots when I know I need to have a tough conversation. I really struggle with them. But when I opt not to have those tough conversation with people I am showing that I really don’t love them enough to be real with them. As leaders we need to love people enough to be honest with them when they need to be better or need to do things differently. Remember though, loving them also means showing them how to be different and helping them get there, NOT just telling them they are wrong.
On the positive side, being real with people is also loving them enough to tell them when they do something well. Point out their successes and praise him or her for them.
5. Follow Jesus
Don’t lead people to you. If you have people following you invite them to follow you to Jesus. That means YOU need to be following Him yourself. This can be the most important key to leadership for you this year. Follow Jesus!!!! You can’t show people what it means to follow Him if you yourself are not doing it. You want to be a better leader? Be a better follower, a better follower of Jesus.
2016 can be your best year yet when it comes to leading people and leading them to Jesus. My prayer for all of you is that God will use you in mighty ways this year and that you will reach lost students for Christ and guide them into a real relationship with Him!