Sunday, June 1, 2008

The five priorities of every leader

Good leaders must do at least five things well in their leadership role. There may be other things a leader does but if she or he does not do these five things well, they will not become great leaders. These five responsibilities are the five highest priorities in one's leadership role. How well they are done will determine the effectiveness of the team.

One: Personal Development - Ensuring that I live intentionally in my spiritual, family, emotional, relational and professional life.

By personal development I mean the core issues that make and keep a leader healthy spiritually, relationally, emotionally and professionally. These become a leader's highest priority because health in these areas determines their ability to lead spiritually and professionally and to model the kind of faithful, fruitful, connected life that the New Testament describes for leaders.

Two: Strategic Leadership - Providing strategic leadership to the organization or part of the organization you lead.

This is not about administrating the team. There is a crucial difference between 'activity' and 'results.' Good leaders are always seeking results that are consistent with the mission. Leaders do some administration but they are not administrators. Rather, they are always pushing the mission forward - which often gets lost in the press of activity. Strategic leadership is about keeping the mission of the organization central and the team aligned toward accomplishing the mission.

Three: Strong Team - Building a healthy, unified, aligned, strategic and results oriented team.

Newsflash: The higher the altitude at which you fly, the less you can do yourself and the more you are dependent on other people. Your ability to influence the organization you lead and advance the mission is directly dependent on the people who make up your team. Your success is tied directly to your team. So, the better the team, the more you will see accomplished.

Four: Leadership Development - Develop current and future leaders.

Are you developing current and future leaders for your ministry? It amazes me how many churches and organizations have no strategy or plan to develop future leaders and then wonder why they have trouble when new leaders come and create problems. Leaders pay close attention to identifying and developing new leaders for the future. I will have failed if I do not raise up the next generation of leaders for the organization I lead so that it flourishes into the future.

Five: Mobilizing Resources - Mobilize key resources necessary for the ministry of the team to flourish.

Team leaders are mobilizers of people, strategies, finances and other needed resources. Leaders use their authority, vision-casting ability and position in the organization to ensure that their team has the resources it needs to fulfill their responsibilities. This may mean negotiating with others at their level or higher for necessary budgets or cooperation.

Mobilizing resources is not simply about funding. Leaders are 'people raisers,' always looking for individuals who can contribute to the mission. They are always on the lookout for strategies that might work or people who have been successful in what they are trying to do. All to often we try to 'reinvent wheels.' Leaders point their team to those who have already figured it out and encourage them to explore successful models.

If a leader pays attention to these five priorities, they will grow healthy and effective teams.


Anonymous said...

I just finished an "intentional living course" so #1Personal Development is fresh in my mind. Without keeping this at the top of a leaders priorities, everything else he/she does will be effected. It is also a great model to the people the leader is leading. In my own life, when I struggle to lead, I can always look back at "#1" and understand why I am probably struggling.

carrie_b said...

The section on Strategic leadership really struck me as an important aspect that is often overlooked. I think we as leaders so often feel that we have to do so much ourselves that we get bogged down with the minute details and we forget the big picture. More often than not we are surrounded by people capable of helping out with the administration of the team...what we need is to be free from those entanglments to lead with vision.

Anonymous said...

Each area described is crucial to be able to lead well. As we bring others with us an important part of the strategy is to be molding others on the team to take on more and more of a leadership role in an effort to multiply ourselves for the future.

g039260 said...

The part that resonated with me most was the part on developing leaders. It's so true that Church's and organizations don't take the time to see someone with a gift of leadership and "take them under their wing" and develop them to be a leader in that Church or Org.

Rob said...

I love your 5 points but especailly point 2: Strategic Leadership. Without seeking results we are only marking time. Strategic leadership is about leading the way: consistantly and with expectations. Thanks for your inspiring work!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the point on developing future leaders. I've seen many strong leaders who have missed that area - and then struggle when they need to move on because no one is there to step up in there place. These 5 points provide a check list of what to look for in a future leader. Just because someone is good with administration does not mean they will make a strong, strategic leader (and vice versa). Thanks for helping leaders know what to look for in their successor.

Eric Belz said...

I appreciated the initial emphasis on personal development. There are so many areas we can grow in leadership, where we can pour our time, yet if we are not healthy personally, it will all fall flat. It can be difficult to get past this, but this must always be a starting point for healthy leadership.