Today is my last day at the office… Of my current job/church that is. It ends a 6.5 year journey with some incredible people. The first day I arrived, I was a 23 year old who just felt a call to a community and to a church. Today, I’m leaving as the Campus Pastor that has served a variety of roles over the last 6 plus years.
Thinking back on those years, I’ve learned a lot about a variety of things. Life, family, Jesus, and leadership. The people that I’ve worked with have been incredible to me and my family. Literally, they’ve made us family since we had none within an hour’s drive. Our lead pastor has lead my family and I well. Through not just church stuff, but through life and family transition. Our church has been amazingly open to a 23 year old and my leadership as I’ve gotten older.
With that, I started thinking about leadership and what we “believe” about it. Leadership, at its core, is influence. It’s someone influencing those around them for a single and larger purpose.
Often times, though, leadership becomes about management and getting people to do stuff because you want them to. It often becomes completing tasks and putting out fires.
But, as the people around me have taught me, there’s a better way to lead…
Grow with them
Leadership isn’t a one way street. As you lead, you grow. As you deal with different personality types and people with different gifts and callings, you grow as well. Leaders need to listen. Others have something to offer. Let them give feedback. Be open with them and build a real relationship.
Let them impact you
When we’re invested with people, they impact us. We have to be willing to admit that we don’t have the answers and that we don’t have life and leadership figured out. It requires humility for us to allow others to transform and impact us. It requires discernment, but let them have a voice in your life. They see things from a different angle and can provide valuable insight to not just things within the organization, but you personally as well.
Forgiveness that goes both ways
No one is perfect. We’ve heard that before, but I think we often pretend to be when leading. Some how we think that admitting we’re wrong or were wrong is gonna hurt our creditability. I see this in young leaders especially. We usually try to make an excuse of why something fails. We try to blame it on someone else or justify why it didn’t work… we’re rarely wrong (at least to us).
Be willing to forgive and be willing to ask for forgiveness. Nothing builds a relationship more than real honesty. You may be the boss or the leader, but you’re still a person impacting and leading with people.
Do it the hard way
Sure, it’s easy to when you have authority to step on and over people, but do it the hard way. Lead them. Be willing to have the tough conversations and offer discipline when needed, but lead, don’t manipulate or trample. Be patient with people. Think about their personal lives when judging their work lives. Be sympathetic.
That’s the better way. It’s hard, messy, but so rewarding.