Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on Leadership

Leaders are visionaries, risk takers, and mentors serving optimistically with persistence and passion. Leaders think dimensionally are flexible and willing to continue learning. A leader is willing to change the status quo creating new opportunities yet not seeking change for change sake. A leader will remain focused and not be deterred while building relationships and giving to the community. Leaders must be committed to improvement even when substantial change is required.

An improving leadership team recognizes change keeps things fresh recognizing non leaders often don’t deal well with change. Turmoil is inevitable. Some are effective in thinking of ways to change but find the turmoil too uncomfortable or draining to follow thru. Skeptics and naysayers will always exist. Focus should not be given to the loud critics rather those willing to remain team players laying aside personal desires.

Effectiveness is critical in leadership. Some find it difficult to admit something is non-effective or nonproducing. However, if an idea fails or inadequately produces it should be discontinued without fear of hurting feelings. Often rather than eliminating something it is more comfortable to simply reduce the plan and add new plans. Maintaining ineffective activities are energy draining and hinder greater things being accomplished. Analyzing expenditures and balancing gain against cost is helpful, too. We are involved in this process and are amazed at the results. Recently, we decided to spend more money on web design, internet advertising, and banners moving away from costly ineffective yellow page advertising. Leaders must be willing to instill excitement and move forward.

Flexibility of a leader includes willingness to move within the framework of the structure. A leader must be willing to do what is best for reaching the goal of the team rather than being in control of every situation. Often age and time of involvement in a particular area diminishes a leader’s effectiveness. This does not mean the person should not remain a church leader rather it is time to serve in another capacity. Normally a student pastor is effective in his 20’s and 30’s yet in his 40’s the energy to maintain the expectations of a younger generation is more difficult. It doesn’t mean the person is no longer a leader rather it means it is time for a leadership shift. By making room for younger leaders the leadership team broadens. Often fear of being out of the loop or lack of involvement causes a person to want to remain in control of areas that should actually be released. Releasing control does not release leadership from the individual. Rather the leader should involve in other areas of the structure. Mario Andretti stated, “If you think you’re always in control, then you’re not going fast enough.” Change is exhilarating, but unsettling. Change produces rapid growth and is more satisfying than a slow methodical manner.

Finally, optimism makes risk taking more comfortable. Planning for success is fulfilling. Look for victories, even small ones. Victories lift spirits and gives faith for better days ahead. Regardless if a leader’s opti­mism is shaken he must still speak positively. Fearlessness or the appearance of is another asset in achieving change. Leadership is about discerning what should and should not be changed and accomplishing it!