As a leader, we must remember that people don't follow a title. People don't follow a position. People don't follow someone just because they are the "boss."
Let's look at 10 ways you can be a leader that people WANT to follow instead of a leader people "HAVE" to follow.
1. Be guided by core values. These are the deeply rooted beliefs that you live by. You make decisions based on your core values. You are guided by your core values. You are lead by your core values rather than by your temporary feelings.
2. Ask for feedback. Keep a learner's attitude. When those who follow you, see that you have a teachable spirit, they will follow you and also adapt that same posture. And an important note about this - don't wait for feedback, actively seek it out.
3. Be honest about your mistakes so you and others can learn from it. Being a leader people will follow doesn't mean you will be perfect. You will blow it at times. You will make mistakes. And that's okay with those who follow you...if you are honest with them about it. Admit your mistakes. Own your mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Grow from your mistakes. Help people to not make the same mistakes you have made.
4. Humility. While pride will take you down, humility will exalt you. I Peter 5 is very clear about this.
"In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
"So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor."
Humility doesn't mean you let people walk all over you. It is strength and grace balancing each other in your life.
5. Stay steady. Don't be up one day and down the next day. Keep an even keel as you lead. Yes, you will have some bad days...but don't let it take you down in the dump. Being a steady leader brings great assurance to those you lead. What you don't want, is for your team to be guessing what kind of mood you'll be in today.
6. Be trustworthy. This will take a while. Trust is something that is accomplished over time. You must earn trust by being trustworthy over the course of months and in many cases, even years.
7. Keep your word. When you tell someone you are going to do something, follow through and do it. Make notes to yourself so you can remember what you have promised to deliver.
I remember when a father asked if we could put a clock on the wall in one of our classrooms. I told him I would and I stopped then and there and made a note of it. I knew the next week, he would walk into that room and see if a clock had been placed there. It was there and I gained a little more trust by keeping my word.
Each time you keep your word, you are gaining more trust from your team members. This matters in the little stuff as well.
8. Show you care about people. When people know you really care about them, it will open their heart to your leadership. You've heard the saying "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." That is so true.
At one church where I served for almost 9 years, they had a going away party for me as we were transitioning into a new ministry role. They asked several of the people who had served with me to get up and share a word of encouragement to me.
I thought they would share about the numerical growth we had experienced or perhaps about the hundreds of kids and parents we had reached for Christ. But they didn't.
They talked about the time I sent them an encouraging text message or email. They talked about how I went to the hospital to pray with their son who was having surgery. They talked about how I had invested in them.
It was a great reminder to me that at the end of the day, accomplishments are not what you will be most remembered by. Rather it will be the times you showed you really cared about them and their family.
9. Inspire people. Share stories of life change. Show them how they are making an impact. Help them personally grow beyond what they ever imagined they could do before. When you are an inspiring leader, you make people's heart beat faster as you share what is ahead.
10. Be passionate. Be excited about the vision God has placed before you. Be a spiritual thermostat that raises the spiritual temperature as you lead. And remember, passion is not just something you teach, it's something you are. The spiritual temperature of the ministry will rise and fall on how passionate you are about the mission. Bring it!
Your turn. What are some other ways you can be a leader that people will follow? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.