What kind of leader do people want to follow? Many people will follow someone who is wealthy or famous. Others may follow someone because of athletic prowess or because they possess a unique creative ability. Status does play a role in how we perceive one another, but none of these qualities actually translate to someone being an effective leader. Often, one may find themselves in an environment where the leader is fueled by their insecurities. In these cases, the leader probably does not care about the overall good of the team, but instead makes decisions that only advance their ego and personal agenda. This type of leader may need to have the backing and security of an entourage and often rely on rewards, threats, and the motivating factor of fear to keep team members in line. This type of leader may be able to drive profits and get results, but often at the all too high cost of high employee turnover, low morale, and a hostile environment.
It is often the case that many who find themselves in a position of leadership are not actual leaders. Being a leader can be stressful, hard, unrewarding, time-consuming, and thankless. Yet when a team is being led well, the contributions of a good leader occur seamlessly behind the scenes unnoticed by the majority. Part of the job of a good leader is to realize that most people want to feel love, that they are valued, and that there is purpose to their lives. They want a leader to get them from point A to point B in a meaningful way, as well as recognize that they are more than just an instrument to reach an end, but also a human with feelings, aspirations, and needs. This is where a good leader understands the importance of building a relationship with their team. It is important for a good leader to know their team members and how each of their team member’s unique personality traits can be effectively utilized, not only to achieve the obvious outcomes of meeting production goals but also in ways that honor the team member’s individual style.
Many individuals in leadership positions look forward to that moment when the day’s accomplishments have been achieved and they can finally decompress. In these moments when one is finally able to take a deep breath, reflecting on how the day played out is often the reward. Relying on our own perspective of events, while insightful, is limited in giving us a full view. In our quest to enhance the quality and effectiveness of our leadership abilities, utilizing a mentor or professional coach can be a force multiplier in helping to ensure that we see the whole view. Switzer Associates Leadership Solutions has the tools to help ensure we are seeing clearly, and the expertise to help us develop a plan and hold us accountable. Call 916-622-3545 for a no-cost consultation with Dr. Switzer and allow him to help you chart a path forward.
FOR THE FAITH-BASED
When looking at the ideal leader, Jesus set the example of what leadership should look like. He was compassionate, firm but loving, motivating, able to help people reach their full potential, willing to teach, and selfless in that he laid down his life for the whole world.
King David was also a great leader. When we think about David, we tend to think of him as the young man who slew Goliath or as the great king of Judah and Israel. It is his role “over the men of war” (when Saul was king), and later as the leader of the famous Mighty Men that many see as the mark of a great leader. In viewing David in this light, it is easy to forget about the many difficulties and hardships that shaped him throughout his life. While David possessed many qualities of an effective leader, two that are interesting are his willingness to admit to mistakes and his acceptance of counsel. This goes against a common human tendency of always wanting to be correct and the sometimes-painful task of accepting counsel when we have errored. In David’s case, it was his acute awareness of having sinned against the Lord that brought him to repentance, and his humbleness as king that allowed him to follow sound advice.
When contemplating our own leadership style, we should follow Jesus’s example and love our neighbor as ourselves, even as we constantly love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. Yet, as terrible as it feels when we do make wrong choices, let us pray that we will be able to boldly go to the Lord’s throne of grace to ask forgiveness for our sins and that we will be open and receptive to godly counsel. Then even we can boldly say just like David after he suffered multiple times for his bad conduct, “O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise” (Psalm 51:15).