John Maxwell said “a leader who thinks he is leading but has no followers is only taking a walk.” He also summarizes leadership as influence. It is the idea that leader’s influence those around them. Some people are geared toward following, and not leading. Some thrive on leading, and can do anything, and people will follow them. Those people can be frustrating, because it comes so natural to them.
Briefly today, I want to give some principles that I have learned after 7 years of ministry about leadership. Now, I am not a perfect leader. Most of these thoughts have been learned the hard way to be honest, but I am learning that they are true. You can sum up this post as “ways to get people to follow your leadership.”
- Listen to them– No one wants to follow a person who is not willing to listen to them. That kind of leadership becomes a dictatorial type of leadership which rarely ends well. As leaders, we need to get in a habit of listening to the ones who are following us. This is not saying you do everything that they say, but at least listen to everything that they say.
- Allow them to Lead– Great leaders delegate. This is where I struggle majorly. Many people have this “No one can do the job as well as I can” kind of mentality. Great leaders release responsibility and leadership to the ones that are following. Allow them to lead. Allow them to lead even if they fail, because it is in that failure that they can grow the most.
- Be accessible– Be easy to get in touch with. Return phone calls, emails, and texts. Not saying you have to return them instantly, but return them. It might be several days later, but return them. Show an interest in what your followers need to tell you.
- Always be honest– I have seen leaders tell one person one thing and another person something completely opposite. This is not a good habit. In fact, it is lying. Many leaders can easily get in a habit of this, because they are trying to get their followers to like them. So they tell them what they want to hear even if it is not totally truthful. Be honest no matter what. At the end of the day, you will not ever say “Man, I wish I wasn’t honest in that scenario.” Many say all off the time, “Man, I wish that I was just honest in that scenario.”
- Inform them Regularly– This is key. Get in a regular habit of informing your people of what is going on. Your followers will slowly decrease if they constantly have no idea what is going on. Inform them through regular meetings, texts, and emails. Try not to be annoying with them, but you would much rather inform them too much than not enough.
- Stay Humble– As you grow as a leader, it can become easy to become prideful. Always stay humble. Do not lead over your people, lead beside your people.
- Love them and get to know them– The key at the end of the day is you have to love them and you have to desire to get to know them. Look for ways to get to know them and their family. You cannot fake love, because people can see right through it. People crave genuine love.
If you do these things as a leader, the odds are in your favor that people will support you as a leader.