Leadership and Teams
Here is a synopsis of our training methods for leaders and, the building up of teams around them.
Investing in Others:
We look to Jesus as our role model for the good leader. His blueprint for building a good team was to spend as much time as he could with each and every one of them. He enjoyed the company of his ‘friends’ and over time, by being around him, they became like him. This can be counter intuitive to the corporate minded leader, who feels that his/her time is ‘so valuable’. Our philosophy at Planted by the Water… is that when hospitality governs, people feel included and become, even without being asked, invested in the project or mission.
Choosing the Right People:
Following the same blueprint…. Jesus did not inherit John the Baptist’s crew. No, with an eye for his own purposes he handpicked a group of rough and ready individuals who were prepared to, and capable of, learning something new. Most importantly, they were willing to follow him. Having people follow you is essential, especially the leaders under you. Better to have followers than talented people pulling and pushing in different directions.
I often work as a producer on both music and film projects, and though I may be the boss in the studio, I know that, to get a great performance out of the singer, musician or actor, part of my role is to serve them, or be there for them, especially when they are feeling vulnerable or nervous. I may run an errand, or make the tea or coffee, or if I notice a technical problem (that may have been their fault) I’ll fix it for them… all of which may seem extremely menial to many, shall we say, more driven leaders. But I have a role model… the servant leader, the one who washed the feet of his team members and did everything possible to make them shine. That’s part of a leader’s job.
Lead From the Front:
If you are a leader and you want something from your team, then you best be doing it yourself before you ask it of them. Worshiping Churches have worshiping pastors. People who love to pray have leaders that love to pray. Generous, loving, gracious and inclusive church communities have leaders that have shown them, through their own life, the way. If you want things to change, may I suggest that you lead from the front rather than merely talk about it from a pulpit.
Allow People to Make Mistakes:
Reading history we discover that some of our most beloved leaders, at one time or another, stumbled or fell, often enduring the most public of humiliations. Some of these mistakes were BIG and I doubt that many of us could have say, welcomed the apostle Peter back into the fold, especially after he had publicly denied having any association with us or our ministry. And what about David and his shenanigans with Bathsheba and the ensuing soap opera? Whew! I’m glad that didn’t happen under my watch! It is worth considering however, both Peter and David’s responses when they realized they had been forgiven. They ran back to God and became lifelong followers. Just as real love covers a multitude of sins, true leadership loves and rebuilds broken lives. I bear the fruit of many second chances. How about you?
Many leaders are taught to distance themselves from their followers and thus struggle to develop ‘real’ friendships amongst their own community. But this is a falsehood and me thinks quite unimaginable in the Jesus mold of leadership. We all need friends, people close enough to notice when we are veering off our calling or, dare I say it, the straight and narrow. A good friend knows how to share in the celebration during the good and stand beside us during the bad. A pastor from a mega church once visited our church conference and was taken back by how familiar we all were together. From the most senior minister down to those occupying the back ‘pews’, we were friends, enjoying meals and vacations together, able to laugh at and with each other in public. This sounds like a healthy family to me.
A good leader is a whole person. Not stressed, over worked, undervalued or under-appreciated, but functioning in a role that suits his/her skills and gifts. This good leader knows how to look after him or herself, making space in the calendar everyday, for downtime, exercise, quality moments with spouse, kids and whenever possible, their own good friends. This good leader carves out his/her best time each day to be alone with God. And this good leader finds the ‘raising up and or development of other leaders’ a natural bi-product of his/her life.