Mark Driscoll, a pastor of a multi-campus church in Seattle, recently wrote an article giving his insight on leadership development. He defined the following steps as being invaluable to those leaders who find themselves out ahead of their team, in over their head, and/or tired and frustrated:
–Accept that Leadership is Lonely
Leaders are those that build community, so more times than not, they are the ones who find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to having true peers and true community. As a leader, there is always some level of distance between you and those you lead.
-Use silence and solitude to write down what you need.
Use the energy you have to write down exactly what you need. You are the only one that really knows what you need. Leaders often do not practice sufficient times of silence and solitude. These times can be invaluable to working on your life rather than staying in the office working in it only to become unhealthy, angry, and burned out.
–Pray for God to go before you act.
Most leaders are doers and pushers. This means our first instinct when an opportunity or an obstacle arises is to do more and push our team to do more. Instead, the first thing we should do is pray.
–Emotionally wait for your team to catch up.
Don’t default to self-centered contempt and assume that you have failed as a leader because you are lonely. Instead, prayerfully and patiently wait for your team to catch up. Give them time to see what you see, feel what you feel, and know what you know.
–Teach your team.
Get your heart lined up with God in prayer first, then lovingly walk alongside your team by teaching them to see what you see, feel what you feel, and know what you know so that together you can do what you need to do by being who you need to be.
–As a last resort, use a sanctified shove.
Sometimes, when the previous five steps have been followed, there simply needs to be a sanctified shove to get people focused on their task and faithful to it.
As I read through those points, I couldn’t help but think about relationships. It is all about relationships. They are one of the most important resources you have as a leader. It is also important that these principles be followed in succession. You obviously have to accept your role as a leader before moving to understanding what your goals and vision will be; you and your team must be on the same page before you can effectively teach them and guide them. All of these principles work together, and if you take one out of sync with the others, things can quickly move south. How are you applying these principles with those that you lead?