There’s a wealth of material out there to read and study when it comes to leadership. In fact, we’re drowning in resources. I thought however I would smash down the lessons I’ve particularly and personally learned in 2012. This isn’t hugely thought through either. Its an instinctive list, most of it come to the hard way (by messing up and having to learn from it quickly).
1. As a leader you have to sometimes make tough decisions that will hurt you and hurt others. No matter how hard you try to avoid the latter, its an inevitable consequence of being the leader. The fact that people may get hurt doesn’t make those decisions wrong. If you’re not prepared to face up to that inevitability then perhaps the role isn’t for you. You won’t be the winner of any/many popularity contests…
2. A leader needs to learn to keep his/her dignity in the face of criticism whether public or not. Avoid using your ability to speak out widely to defend yourself or attack critics from the front. If you defend yourself against an unfair critic you are effectively making them your judge. Theres a couple of useful proverbs; A wise person overlooks a critic but a fool speaks too much! Thats not to say that we shouldn’t have our lives spoken into or receive feedback. I’m talking about criticism thats toxic and sub kingdom. Let it wash over the top of your head.
3. You have to learn to accept that not everyone will have all the facts about a decision you’ve made and it maybe right that hardly anyone ever does. You just have to suck up the pain.
4. Anything new or fresh is liable to be criticised.
5. In a ministry context, I’m still learning to believe that God pays for what He orders. Never put money before the vision or the fear of finance will suffocate it.
6. Persistence pays off.
7. Constantly reinforce the values and vision of what your organisation is about.
8. Loyal staff who own the vision you set before them are worth more than their weight in gold. Find ways to reward and praise.
9. A gifted and talented person still may not fit the culture of your organisation. Chose people very carefully and be robust in your selection processes. Find out if they are on the same page as you. Do they have the same values? Are they of good character and willing to be led and make sacrifices for the ministry you are engaged in or is it all on their terms first?
10. Leadership involves constant risks. But as I keep saying, nothing ever happened to someone who didn’t have a go.