By Ferdinand Burger
Know what you want to do. You cannot lead someone to a destination if you don’t know what the destination is. There are ways to reach the destination, and you may not be successful from the beginning, but knowing what it is, is what counts. Leaders are born leaders, and develop according to their environment and education. Management on the other hand, can be learned, obtained by sufficient training, education and acquiring additional skills. Leaders are necessary to drive the vision home, make sure it stays alive in the hearts of the staff, members and contributors. Decisions that have to be made, need to have solid backing, and for this leadership has a greater spiritual responsibility to contribute to the success, while managers could also be part of this responsibility, but would focus more on the strategic planning to ensure the growth and achievability.
To provide you with all that is necessary and essential in being a leader would be quite comprehensive, so I will give you a basic guide with qualities to keep in mind when leading – and managing – an organization that is not merely set on making profits.
1. Encourage workers/employees/team members to be creative and contribute
Believe in teamwork. Set up guidelines and challenge those working with you to participate at their level. Also important is to build a team/group of trusted “mentors” or advisors, people who are able to apply their knowledge and wisdom to help at decision-making times.
2. Do your homework.
If you know where you are going, the next logical step would be to find a way to get there. The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, so it is not always necessary to re-invent the wheel every time you wish to develop something, implement change, or feel adventurous. Someone might have thought about it before.
3. To be a leader means you are the example.
When you have set the course for the destination, don’t get out of the boat! You cannot lead when someone else is steering. The example you set will be the model people use to follow. There can also only be one leader. As leader you should build up a team to support you, to give advice and help with management, but if you wish to lead, be the first to volunteer.
4. People are not perfect, but they can be committed.
What do you prefer: workers who do everything perfect, then go home and continue with their lives, or people who sometimes make mistakes, but are committed to the goal? If they are committed, they will work hard, put everything they have into what is required to get the job done, and deliver a quality of workmanship that would be hard to find otherwise. If people are committed, they believe in the same goal as you, and this means that they – and you – belong! If you value their worth, they in return will obey and respect you. It works both ways.
5. People are individuals.
Know who are in your teams. Understand their strengths and weaknesses, listen to their fears and worries and encourage their aspirations. If someone comes up with a good idea, acknowledge this and give them credit when due. However, if criticism from outside is received, be sure to protect and guard that individual. You could always have a chat with him/her later. Understand and respect people’s priorities. When you have someone working day and night on a project, make sure he spends enough time with his family and himself. Working in the Kingdom of God does not mean that people don’t have personal lives.
6. Stay humble.
Achievement could be food for pride. “Oh, we have grown from sixty to six hundred in the last ten months.” Ever heard this? Or “We have three doctors, two lawyers and nine successful business men in the leadership group.” Yes, and how many people have come to the Lord? How much time is spent on sharing the Gospel? When was the last time you heard from God?
7. Work on your character.
Character is not something that can be bought with money. It comes from inside, but you have to work on it to improve it. Be consistent in your approach, in your management style and apply the principles and values found in the Word of God. It is hard work, but if you set the example, then those following you will have the same basis. Set guidelines and limits and do not go outside these yourself.
8. Enjoy life to its fullness.
By this I mean that as a person one can either have a lousy life, or one can choose to make the most of what comes along. If we have inner peace and enjoy the beautiful things God put on this earth, we are able to have a positive effect on those people around us. The joy we have inside us can be quite contagious – and here I do not mean to be funny or humorous the whole time – but the life-giving spiritual fountain that comes with a life filled by the Holy Spirit. Share it, make it visible and enjoy what you have. It will soon rub off on others, and your motivation will become theirs.