While not an exhaustive list, when you’re a leader, the following needs to be true about you:
When you’re a leader, begging God for wisdom needs to be a daily activity.
I started leading people at a pretty young age, and so I got in the habit of this out of need and desperation. I had no wisdom of my own to draw on. I still am in need and am still desperate for God’s wisdom. Beg God for His wisdom daily.
When you’re a leader, you can’t avoid change for the sake of comfort or pleasing everyone.
If change is needed, lead people through it. Don’t get tempted to try and sway and bend in an attempt to please everyone. Love people through the change, but don’t be stunted by an attempt to keep everyone happy.
When you’re a leader, you must make and stand by tough decisions.
Decisions will need to be made, and you’ll be the one that needs to make them. Have the guts to make them and stand by them when you believe they are right. Balancing this with the humility to have an honest view of the course and change if necessary, but don’t shy away from making the right decision because it’s tough. Also, standing by tough decisions may mean being respectful of decisions made by those in authority over you. Standing by and upholding those decisions rather than conveying your disapproval speaks volumes to your loyalty and respect for those in leadership over you. Stand by them.
When you’re a leader, you must embrace healthy confrontation.
Confrontation is a part of a leader’s life. When it’s healthy and needed, confrontation can move the needle in areas where change and new direction are needed. While not desiring it, you need to embrace it when needed and lead through it in love. You’ll have a healthier team for it.
When you’re a leader, you must love people and make their growth your priority.
Don’t make your people a means to the end. If you forsake the relationships with your people and put their health second to your drive for an end result, you will stoop to bulldozing people and manipulating them in order to meet that goal. Make them more important in your structure than than output, and the output will be quality as a result.
When you’re a leader, you must structure what you plan to achieve.
Like it or not, your long-term goals are nothing more than dreams without a plan. If you are really setting out to accomplish something, put a structure and plan in place to make it happen. Just hoping you’ll get there someday all but ensures that you won’t. If you do, it won’t be because of your leadership.
When you’re a leader, you must be willing to take the hits to protect your team.
This is a big one for your team morale and credibility. When a question of “who’s to blame” comes around, your answer needs to always be “it was my fault.” Take the hit for your team, and own the fact that in some way, you could have led better that would have helped prevent the failure. Don’t throw your team under the bus. Be that buffer for your team.
When you’re a leader, you must have to dream and let your vision excite those you lead.
If you’re not excited about where you’re going, who will be? You need to dream about what your team could be and get those you lead excited about that direction.
When you’re a leader, you must be a constant learner.
If you stop learning, you quickly become out of touch. Consume information, acquire new skills, and learn from those you lead! Look for ways to always be a student in the arenas you’re responsible for. Then, have the guts to apply the lessons you learn.
When you’re a leader, you must seek wise input from others.
You don’t know everything, haven’t walked through new territory, and can’t always have an objective view of yourself and the decisions you’re making. It’s imperative to invite wise input in from those who have gone before you and can speak truth to you. Don’t let this replace your desire to seek God’s wisdom and direction for your life, but do use it as a sounding board to make sure you’re hearing correctly and have thought about all the implications.
When you’re a leader, you need to own your mistakes.
You will make mistakes. Own them. Apologize for them. Fix what you messed up and accept responsibility for the consequences. Set the model for others in how you walk through mistakes. They will happen. How you handle them will shape your leadership.
Now it’s your turn – fill in the blank: when you’re a leader _____________________________