Monday, January 14, 2008

21 Irrefutable Law of Leadership (Part II)

Law 6: The Law of Solid Ground
Leadership comes out of a respect for the leader who has a respect of the followers. To lead a group of people in anything they need to know they can trust you. Once you have trust you can gain support from your followers.

In seminary I had always heard that when you take a new appointment don’t change anything for the first year. That never made sense to me until I attempted it. I am 7 months into the first year of my new appointment and this rule I had heard of is now making sense. To be able to lead a congregation, you have to have their trust in you. The only way to build that trust is build it over time. They have to get to know you and you have to get to know them. You have to build a solid ground to stand on in order for them to take you seriously as a leader. If you go into a new appointment with guns blazing and ideas swirling you will probably find less support than if you took the time to get to know the congregation and them to get to know you. Once you have their trust, they are more willing to follow.

Law 7: The Law of Respect
Respect is a necessity in order to be a good leader. “When people respect someone as a person, they admire her. When they respect her as a friend, they love her. When they respect her as a leader, they follow her.”

Maxwell states in this law that people follow leaders they respect. If you have a group of people in a room, leaders go their separate way at first but soon they start to follow the person with the strongest leadership ability and they all fall into place. Look at your life, who is the person you respect the most? I bet they are leaders who have affected your life dramatically. Part of the reason they have is because you have a great respect for them. People follow leaders that are stronger than them because of respect. A person with a leadership ability of 5 will follow a 6,7,8,9, or 10. A 9 will only follow a 10. A 8 will never follow a 6 because they don’t have the respect needed to lead.

Law 8: The Law of Intuition
A leader is always looking through the lens of leadership. A true leader will look at every situation and see how leadership can get them through it. They look at facts, their intuition, and other factors to come up with a conclusion. Since their eyes are always focused on leadership, that will be their bias.

A minster has to have a good leadership intuition, especially in the UMC. In the UMC’s polity the minister is the chair of the Lay Leadership Committee, the only committee the minister chairs. This committee’s job is to name lay people to committees and leadership roles in the congregation. A minister always has to be looking at how leadership can fill the gaps in his/her congregation and how to improve. Also, the minister should not be doing everything, so an eye or bias for gaining good lay leadership should always be on the fore front of his/her mind.

Law 9: The Law of Magnetism
This law states that they type of leader you are are the people you attract. Who you get to be your leaders is not determined by what you want but by who you are.

I thought this was very interesting. People who are attracted to me are people who share the same priorities, abilities, focuses, etc. as I do. This means if I have a real passion for working with the homeless, eventually I will attract other people with the same passion. If I am passionate about music, people with musical talents will be attracted to me and my ministry. This is important to understand because if your desire is to go in a certain direction in your ministry but you can’t seem to get there, you might have to take a look at who YOU are and the people YOU attract.

Law 10: The Law of Connection
A good leader has to touch the hearts of his/her followers before they can get them to follow completely. The heart always comes before hands.

This is another key to wanting a year before major changes are done at an appointment (see Law of Solid Ground). A minister should have plenty of opportunities to touch the hearts of the congregation through worship, funerals, weddings, holidays, etc. These are opportunities for the minister to open up to the congregation and touch the hearts of those in the service. About five Sundays into my new appointment I delivered a sermon on the prodigal son. I did so in a very narrative and first person story telling format. The purpose was to have the congregation believe it was a story about my life when really it is a dramatic and modern retelling of the famous parable. Before the service the place was rowdy but by the end you could hear a pin drop and you could feel the Spirit. Through that sermon God touched the heart of many people in that congregation and I gained many connections that week. I can tell still, 5 months later, that those people who were extremely touched will be some of my key leaders in the future. It is the Law of Connection.

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