Are you a leader?
Believe it or not, most everyone is (or at least could be) a leader. Leadership isn’t limited to politicians or CEOs; it includes moms, dads, teachers, coaches, chefs, singers, bus drivers, Porch volunteers, missionaries, disciple-makers, heads of households, and…you get the idea. But not everyone is a good leader, and the world needs good leaders.
To become a good leader, there are some questions you need to ask yourself. You could think of them as the five Ws (and one H) of leadership.
Who am I leading?
Everyone has the opportunity to lead, because every conversation you have is an opportunity for leadership. “Leadership” simply means to intentionally influence. Every human interaction is an opportunity to influence. So the people in your life that you regularly interact with are people that you could be leading.
Where am I leading us?
A lead strategist for a renowned consulting firm told me that forming a strategy is as simple as knowing where you are, knowing where you want to be, and then putting a plan together to get there. Before you take a step, or lead others to take a step, you need to know where you hope to end up. All directions start with the end in mind.
What is my message?
After you know where you are going, or what you want to influence people toward, you have to communicate that to others. People long to be inspired. We are thirsty for inspiration. So figure out how to inspire them towards the goal. Why should they go that direction? What will happen when they get there? Why is this mission important?
When will I communicate my message?
When? Always. Consistently. Vision leaks. People are forgetful. Tell them, and tell them again. You'll know that your messaging is consistent enough when they repeat it without you, or finish your sentences for you, perhaps even mocking you for how often you say it. But stay at it, and say it often.
Why do they need a leader?
Basically: because everyone does. Even the best leaders are led by others in some areas of their lives. The better question is, are you up for the job?
How can I be a more effective follower?
The Bible talks a lot about submission. (Colossians 3:17-24 is one example.) This has become a “bad word” among our generation, and is sometimes seen as an outdated idea. But it’s not. If leadership is still important, then being a follower is still important as well. Every leader is also a follower; even the President has to submit to Congress or the Supreme Court at times. And being a Christ-follower also literally means that you are following Christ.
You cannot be a good leader without first being a great follower. To become a great leader, follow and learn from great leaders.
How can you be a better follower and leader?
(With help from Kevin McConaghy)