One of the keys to effective leadership is preparation. As we welcome a new year, we also need to take steps for effective leadership. Here are some tips!
This year has challenged and stretched our leadership. Whether you are leading on campus, in a volunteer ministry, or as a small group leader, you have likely experienced the stress and anxiety of leading in uncertainty.
But hey, you’re still called to lead! So no matter how hard you think you’ve failed this year, or how you could have done better, by the grace of God, you get to try again.
Before we can start the new year right, we must end this year right. We must move past our regrets and frustrations, learn from them, and continue forward.
Then, as we welcome a new year, let’s begin by preparing ourselves to lead effectively. How can we do this?
“Is prayer your steering wheel? Or your spare tire?”
Corrie Ten Boom
No matter where we’re leading, or how long we’ve been leading, humility is always a great place to start.
Dependence on God in prayer is one of the expressions of humility. Prayer is acknowledging that we won’t be as effective as we want to be apart from the wisdom and power of God. Even leadership roles outside of the church are given by God, and we need His guidance and grace to lead well in any responsibility.
Why should we spend unhurried time with God?
Regardless of the potential other people saw in us, or how we’ve proven ourselves throughout the years, the platform we have today was given and will only be fruitful by His grace.
It fascinates me how unbothered Jesus Christ was as He took His time to strengthen Himself in God. Before starting His mission on earth, He didn’t create a team or go everywhere to perform miracles and grant healing to the sick. Without a doubt, there were a lot of urgent needs. People needed a Savior, and yet there He was, alone in a desert, seeking God. Even in the middle of His mission trips, crowds of people went to Him; yet He started His day with prayer.
Maybe you’re thinking, “But this is so cliche!” Let’s not fall into the trap of, “I need to do something about this now and pray later.” We will likely turn to our own wisdom and strength when we do so, and that means we are limiting ourselves to our own resources.
So before planning anything for next year, pray and seek God. Allow Him to lead you in leading others.
Why do you think God entrusted you with that platform to lead? What are the specific things He wants you to prioritize? How willing are you to say “no” to trivial things, in order to give your best to what’s important?
“True greatness, true leadership, is found in giving yourself in service to others, not in coaxing or inducing others to serve you. True service is never without cost.”
This is also the best time to set your mind on the fact that sacrifices and hard work will always be part of leadership. Peter didn’t run away when Jesus told him that he would die for being His disciple (John 21:15–19).
I believe Peter was willing to follow Christ and continue the mission to spread the gospel, even to the point of death, because he witnessed His resurrection. This is why we must first go to God. We need to see what Peter saw.
After seeking God in prayer, in a practical sense, we must consider the costs and then make plans.
What are the things you will need to start doing? How about things you will need to stop doing in order to faithfully carry out the role you’re called to? What are the daily disciplines you will need to apply?
“When the leader gets better, everyone gets better!”
In case you haven’t noticed, your wellness affects your leadership. Not only must you be connected to God, but also to a community that will help you grow. Leaders will always need other leaders.
Ask your trusted friends to pray for you. Seek advice. Ask for mentoring from other leaders. Open up, don’t be afraid to not know and ask “how.” Share your anxious thoughts with others. Enjoy your time with friends.
Because we are created by God to be included in a community, we will never thrive in isolation. Even when we have the greatest task at hand, we still need to be connected.
Wherever we are called to lead today, may we never forget that we are first called to follow Him who entrusted us with influence and platforms. May we lead next year with humility and faith in God, filled with confidence that He is able to exceed our greatest expectations.
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