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Let's say God has called you to a leadership role. What now? Does it just automatically happen? Do you just fall into it? Not quite. God gives you some very basic principles to follow in order to ensure your success as a leader in the Kingdom of God. You can see these principles operating in the lives of all the great leaders in the Bible. You can see them in the lives of Moses and Joshua. You can see them in the life of Paul and in the life of Jesus Himself. These were all men whom people wanted to follow. Men who gave their followers direction and then motivated them to action.

Not Alone
If you are going to be an effective leader, the first thing people must see is that God is with you. In Exodus 3, God appeared to Moses in a burning bush and told him to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt. Moses immediately began to raise objections, like many of us do. Every time God comes by with a new challenge, we say, "No, Lord, I can't." Moses gave God all sorts of faults that prevented him from being the leader God was calling him to be. Let's look at the third of his eleven complaints.

And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And He said, Cast it on the ground.

And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the Lord, God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee
(Ex. 4:1-5).

In essence, God said, "I've given you supernatural signs and wonders to prove to the people that I am with you."
Likewise, it's important for those you lead to see God's favor and empowerment operating in your life. They need to know that God is with you.

Joshua's Turn
After Moses died, Joshua was left to finish what Moses started. I can imagine Joshua's response when God said to him, Moses my servant is dead (Josh. 1:2). Joshua probably said, "Yeah, nobody knows that any better than me. I've got some big shoes to fill." But as Joshua assumed the position of leadership God had bestowed upon him, we see what the children of Israel said about the kind of leader they wanted:

"And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses" (Josh. 1:16-17).

People have not changed from that time to today. Our technology and our environment have changed, but people's basic perceptions and values have not changed significantly. People want to see in a leader now what they wanted to see in a leader then.

Defined Leadership
Let's begin by defining leadership:
  • Leadership implies that you have the capacity or ability to obtain followers.
  • Leadership is a relational skill.
  • Leadership models desired behaviors.
  • Leadership is the ability to organize.
Now let's look at each of these.

Leadership Implies That You Have the Capacity to Obtain Followers
If you think you are a leader, but nobody is following you, then you are not truly leading. Leadership implies that you exercise enough influence over other people so that they trust the direction you are taking and follow you in that direction.

Leadership is a Relational Skill
In order for you to influence people to follow your lead and in order to organize those people to pursue a common goal or objective, you must develop relational skills. A skill is not an aptitude you are born with; it is something you learn. It is not natural charisma. It is an acquired ability. And it is a vitally important one.

A Stanford University survey was taken by over 2000 of the most successful executives of this country - from the corporate world, the private entrepreneurial business arena and ministry. It demonstrated that 85 percent of the success of these executives was attributed to relational skills, not product knowledge. Plainly and simply put, their skill in developing, cultivating and conducting relationships is what makes them successful leaders.

Let's look at John 10 and focus on Jesus, our ultimate example of leadership.

But he that entereth in by the door [Jesus] is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers (John 10:2-5).

Knowing Your Sheep
Jesus knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him. There is an important leadership principle at the heart of this truth. The Word says so.

You cannot effectively lead unless you know the people you are leading and they know you. It is not enough for them to know you are in a position of authority. They must know you, and you must know them. In particular, you must know well the people who are accountable to you. You must know inside and out how they think. You must know how they will respond to various circumstances. You must know their weaknesses and their strengths. You must know the areas in which they need support and encouragement. You must know what skills they have which can best be utilized to achieve the goal you desire.

As you establish relationships with people and they see in you those things they know they can trust, they will gain confidence in your leadership, and they will begin to follow you. This is where failure begins for most leaders: Many people in leadership have the erroneous idea that their positional authority means they do not have to be totally honest with those whom they lead.

As leaders, we must be sure we do not have any hidden motives. Our agenda must be clear, not only to us but also to the people whom we serve. We must be transparent. We cannot say we feel one way when we feel another. We cannot profess loyalty to them and then demonstrate by our actions that we really do not care about them, that we only care about getting the job done. People are important, and they have to be made to feel important.

Mutual Familiarity
What John 10 is referring to, in modern terms, is mutual familiarity. And what that type of familiarity produces is trust. We see in those verses that those who follow the shepherd are not going to listen to any other voices. They know the voice of the one they are called to follow, and they are going to follow him. Why is that? Because through relationship, mutual familiarity, they know him and there is a basis for trusting his leadership.

Our relationships as leaders must produce that kind of trust. You must be open in your communication. If someone does something you do not like or that is contrary to the direction you want to take, give them the benefit of the doubt. Say, "I know you didn't have a wrong motive; it was probably just a mistake. Let's figure out what happened and talk about it." That attitude will produce trust in your family, in your employees and in those laboring under your leadership. This will enable you to more effectively lead them.

Three Vital Attributes
Be knowledgeable. This will only contribute to your credibility. You must be knowledgeable about the things of which you speak. You wouldn't want someone who has never flown an airplane to teach you how; you'd want a knowledgeable instructor. The same is true of those you lead. The Word says to study to show yourself approved (2 Tim. 2:15). You are first approved by God through the blood of Jesus. But to be approved or accepted by men, you must study the Word, live by godly principles and receive and share right teaching with those whom you are called to lead. You cannot simply say, "Thus saith the Lord!" to cover up lapses in your knowledge base.

Be consistent. Employees who cannot predict what frame of mind their boss is going to be in will be reluctant to talk to him or her about anything. They won't know if that boss is going to bite their heads off or be polite; be sarcastic or genuine. But consistency in leadership is a key to engendering trust. After all, His perfect consistency is one of the reasons we can trust the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore (Heb. 13:8.). We need consistency in leadership in order to build that same kind of trust.

Be responsible. Take ownership and responsibility for your own words. It confuses the issue when you say, "We don't think you should be doing what you're doing." Who is "we" anyway? The truth is that you don't think he should be doing what he is doing. Therefore, say, "I don't believe you are doing the right thing, and here's why." Take personal responsibility for how you share information.

So in the example of John 10, we see that leadership is a relational challenge. It begins by thoroughly knowing the people who work for you. That means spending time with them and talking to them, not just "directing traffic." Spend enough time with them to learn their hearts, their priorities and their values. You must know what turns them on and off and their strengths and weaknesses. Then let them get to know you; be transparent and consistent. The trust that you build will make you more effective in directing their activity and in leading them where they want to go.

Remember, Jesus did not direct from behind; He led from the front.

Leadership Models Desired Behaviors
Effective leadership always models what you want from those who follow you. When you desire a specific result from those working for you, make sure it is being demonstrated in your own life. There is an impartation from you as a leader that will shape the way they act in their role. What they see in you is what they are going to become.

It is more than natural. It is supernatural. It involves the anointing of the Holy Spirit. God equips leadership with the anointing of the Spirit in order to bring direction to people's lives. If He elevates you to a position of responsibility in the body of Christ, you are anointed to impart direction to the people who follow you. Model the attitudes, values and work ethic you want to see in your followers, and they will follow your lead. If you are walking the right way, your leadership will produce positive results in your followers.

Leadership is the Ability to Organize
Leadership is an organized, managed effort to utilize all the human and natural resources entrusted to you. Organization enables you to accomplish God's purpose within the framework of your vision. Maybe your vision is to pursue full-time ministry, or maybe it is to grow a business or a city-wide volunteer effort. Whatever it may be, launching that vision will require the human resources which have been entrusted to you - those who follow your lead. And you must organize those human resources along with material resources-knowledge, finances and so on-in order to achieve the desire the Lord has put in your heart.

Now that we've laid the basic groundwork of the principles of leadership, we can learn to develop that leadership gift God has bestowed on you.

Source: Positioned For Promotion by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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