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Leadership – something that is extremely important to develop, yet so often neglected. No matter your position in an organization, you are a leader. Even the lowest person on the organizational totem pole is a leader. This is because leadership is not just top-down, it is also lateral and bottom-up. Great leaders not only lead people under them, but they are also aware of how their leaderships affects their co-workers and their ‘up leaders’ throughout the organization.

Leadership skills are, I believe, very often neglected, never refined, and rarely are they truly developed, and yet, it is such an important and easy skill to improve.

Over the past few years I have spent extensive time developing my leadership skills, as well as studying leadership, leadership styles, and leaders whom many perceive to be some of the “greats.” Over this time, I have found a couple key principles that each have in common and help make them the ones we call “great leaders.”

1. Great leaders pay attention, poor leaders seek attention

This is something that I have found true time and time again. The best leaders you will ever meet never feel the need to prove how important they are or how great they are. They are confident in who they are and, therefore, feel released to pay attention to those around them and those they lead.

Attention seekers stick out like a sore thumb. They are easy to spot because they are vying for your attention constantly. As a result, they are often out-of-touch with the overall pulse of the organization, they are unaware of what is occurring around them, and they often cannot elevate in leadership because they are too busy trying to be the “big man” in the current position.

The fastest way to elevate in leadership is to completely kill the idea of needing attention and start paying attention.

Think about King Saul and David. What created massive insecurity in Saul after David killed Goliath?

1 Samuel 18 says:

6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”

8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. (1 Samuel 18 6-9)

See, the attention moves off of Saul when he gets credited with a lower number of kills and the attention moves onto David. His jealousy and need for attention over takes him and darkness comes over him.

The question I would encourage you to ask yourself today is, “What happens to me when the attention is taken off of me?” Also, “What does that do to me emotionally?” Then begin to evaluate yourself and make changes to become someone who pays attention, rather than seeks attention.

2. Great Leaders Trust The Process

A friend of mine does something that simply drives me crazy. Whenever he gets a new book, he skips right to the end and reads the last chapter, then goes back and reads the whole book. This drives me insane! He ruins the book for himself. He doesn’t want to go through the process; he just wants the result of the ending.

I believe this is how many leaders go about their lives of leadership.

Sometimes, I believe leaders, especially young or new leaders, have a line-of-thinking that basically says, “I need to be elevated to a higher level of authority” or “Why haven’t they given me more responsibility?” This takes over a young, or new leader’s, line of thinking really quickly, because they don’t see the bigger picture, or process that they are being brought through.

The reality for all leaders is that God is taking you on a leadership journey or process. He has a plan and purpose for you, this includes the position you are currently serving in. Large or small, lots of influence or just a little, he has a reason for His timing and placement of you in that position. What many leaders want to do is jump over the process and skip right to the end.

A great leader once told me that, “if the enemy can’t stop you, he will speed up your thinking.”

See, it’s easy to see promotion as leader-initiated. Meaning your leader makes that decision to elevate you to the next level; however, the reality is that all promotion in authority is God-initiated. God nudges your up-leaders to put place you where you are, and then where you are going.

I once heard it put like this:

“Film, old school film, had to be developed in a dark room. And in order for the film to be developed properly, it had to sit in certain chemicals for certain amounts of time. If the film doesn’t sit in the chemicals long enough, it will be under developed, and over exposed.”

3. Great Leaders Surround Themselves With People Better Than Themselves

“A great leader doesn’t fear those who are better than themselves” – Kent Ingle

All leaders have limitations to their abilities. Great leaders are able to analyze their gifts/abilities, asess their weaknesses, and then place people in strategic positions to be better at something than they are. The issue with many leaders face is that they fear people who are stronger than they are, or gifted in areas of their weakness, because they are insecure, and fear losing their position of leadership.

In order to be a great leader, you have to squash the fear of people being better than you are and bring them along side you to make you.

A friend of mine really struggled with this many years ago. There was a new volunteer coming on our staff that was very strong and extremely gifted. However, shortly after he came on staff, my friend and several other staff members, really struggled to release their fear of inequity. Ultimately, after only a year, this volunteer actually felt the need to resign and leave the church, because the tension and strife was too much. If only the staff members had recognized, and brought this volunteer closer, using them to the best of their ability to make themselves and the team stronger, I have no doubt that they would still be working together to this day.

It’s extremely important to bring people, especially volunteers in the church world, along on the journey. Have them be apart of what God is doing in the Kingdom.

These are just three of the things that I have noticed about great leaders, but perhaps the most important three. I truly believe that these three qualities can make or break a leader. If you are truly wanting to improve as a leader and you put time and effort into improving in these three areas, I have no doubt that you will find yourself a stronger, more efficient, and trusting leader in your organization and community.

 

Sources:

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

“Front Row Leadership” Rob Ketterling

Live Leadership Talks/Podcasts: Perry Noble, Andrew Gard, Chris Owen, Kent Ingle

 

Kyle is a natural born “techie” with years of hands-on experience in audio, lighting, and video. Kyle has served in venues both large and small as a freelance and staff production manager, technical director, audio engineer, and lighting designer. Called to equip, empower, and inspire leaders in the emerging generation, Kyle aims to foster healthy culture and community among his teams, and co-workers.

Kyle hosts a monthly podcast available at kylestef.com and on iTunes called the “Behind the Board Leadership and Tech. Podcast”

Kyle loves to connect with people, talk leadership, technology, sports, church, and just about anything else you can imagine via social media:

Instagram: @kylestef1

Twitter: @kylestef1

Email: questions@kylestef.com

Website: kylestef.com

 

 

One Response

  1. Ruby

    Thanks for that, I loved the different parallels with our Christian walk. This will stay with me!

    Reply

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