The Four E’s of Leadership
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As a leader, it is important to have a lens to view your leadership through. This way, your decisions and actions can be filtered and evaluated as useful or not, in alignment with your values or not, and appropriate for your context or not.
There are a multitude of models out there, some more complex than others. For me, simplicity allows me flexibility and adaptability, things that I value. For your consideration, here are my four E’s of leadership.
My leadership should…
Sometimes the people we lead need to me reminded why we value them in the position they occupy. Encouragement can be simple reminders of the skills they bring to the team. It can also take the form of celebrating wins, both small and large.
As leaders, we need to remember that our encouragement adds energy to the roles and activities of those under us. It is also important to remember that the lives of those we lead are bigger than the role they play in our organizations.
Questions for your leadership – How do you celebrate wins and progress? How often do you do this? How often to you check in on your people’s lives outside the organization? How safe do your people feel to answer your questions honestly?
Empowering others to lead or perform their tasks means giving them the space to operate. Recognizing that others will not do things the way that you would. Giving others space to fail (not out of incompetence), evaluate, and refocus.
Empowering is felt as trust by those you lead. The nemesis of an empowering leader is an anxious one. Anxious energy will quickly permeate the relational system you establish in your leadership.
Questions for your leadership – How comfortable are you with differences in leadership style on your team? How does your anxiety manifest in your interactions with others? How would your rate your level of trust for the people you lead? (The answers to all these questions can lead to bigger questions.)
Are you giving the people you lead what they need to be successful? This can be simple resources like office space, time, or training.
People also need a clear vision and mission. Nothing sucks the energy out of leadership like unclear vision. If they don’t know where you want them to go, the destination they take you will most likely not be the result you wanted.
Questions for your leadership – How clear is the vision/mission you have? How often do you communicate it? Are the results you want reasonable? How realistic are you about where you are now? How are you growing and developing in your own leadership?
This is often the toughest step. Evaluating takes time. Evaluating may lead to tough decisions. But, more than anything, evaluation needs a standard. This cannot be done on a whim, or it becomes demoralizing to the team.
Evaluating is also tough because it can reflect on our own leadership, and that can be very uncomfortable. More so if your identity is tied to our role in an unhealthy way.
Questions for your leadership – What is the standard by which I evaluate? How has that standard been communicated to the team/individual? Who is evaluating your leadership (the answer to this question should be someone outside of your system)?
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