Being a Christian leader involves empowering others. Like team building, empowering others involves establishing trust. Cooperation, collaboration and listening all build trust. Making yourself vulnerable, as Jesus did, builds trust. Ceding power builds trust and strengthens your team. But to whom do you give power? You need to develop radar for talent. One way to spot it is to see what people really enjoy, what renews and invigorates them. They probably have a talent for that. Support them, observe them and help them develop the character traits and skills they need. Recognize and honor them. Make heroes of them. Step out of the spotlight so that they can step in. Lead by service. Be a servant leader in the model of Jesus Christ. Bring Courage to Hearts
Persisting at a task is tough. People begin with enthusiasm and commitment, but over time their strength ebbs, their commitment wanes and they falter. That is the time when leaders need to bring courage and encouragement by recognizing victories, reaffirming values, celebrating successes. Remember these words of the Gospel: “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, NIV)
Offering encouragement involves addressing each member of your team as a whole person.
o The heart – Catch people doing things right and praise them. Christian leaders recognize that they do not own anything and nothing is for them. Knowledge, skill, relationships, positions, money, power and everything else they have is at their disposal only for the service of others. Given this belief, Christian leaders do not see other people’s success as a threat. They are humble. When things go well, they recognize other people’s contributions. When things go poorly, they ask themselves what they could have done better. Servant leaders solicit and encourage feedback and criticism so they can serve better in the future.
o The head – The head represents leaders’ beliefs about their role. True leaders have a certain perspective on leadership that determines how they relate to others. The Christian leadership model is servant leadership. It begins with a sense of purpose and a clear view of a simply defined mission. For example, Walt Disney told the cast members at his theme parks to “keep them smiling.” He knew that if people were smiling, Disneyland’s mission would be on track. Christian leaders also have very explicit, understandable, unambiguous value statements. They rank their values so that the people they lead understand what to do if those values conflict. For instance, do you choose safety or speed if you can’t choose both? Most importantly, Christian leaders model and exemplify their vision and the values.
o The hands – Hands do the work. They perform and help others perform, by coaching, planning, and evaluating performance and more. The hand of the leader is most useful when it is giving a pat on the back to recognize someone’s good performance.
o The habits – The Christian leader’s most important habits are prayer, solitude, scripture study, and faith in God’s love and true fidelity to honest relationships.