I was recently playing laser tag and my wife and I had a plan to go to high ground as soon as we entered the arena. Upon the start of the game, she headed off in the completely wrong direction and I tried to re-direct her by taking a more direct route and telling her to “follow me.” We ended up in the wrong corner and both got confused and she, quite angrily, spat out, “You’re a horrible leader.” The statement only frustrated me at the time, but it’s been festering for a few days now and it’s made me really question; what makes a good leader and how do I measure up?
Dictionary.com has this as one definition:
“a person who rules, guides, or inspires others.” According to Forbes.com, the top 10 qualities in a good leader: honesty, ability to delegate, communication, a sense of humor, confidence, commitment, positive attitude, creativity, intuition, and the ability to inspire.
My personal list would add being a good listener, compassion, a student mentality, and integrity. Many of us aspire to these traits and some of us are gifted with them from birth. But if we do not possess them, can they be learned or taught? And does that mean we cannot be good leaders?
I firmly believe that good leadership can be taught and it’s done by modeling it, learning from it, finding those people that have the qualities we wish to possess and surrounding ourselves with those people. But the process has to be authentic and organic; I believe this is why the network marketing model fails so often, the people who are trying to reach the top are faking their enthusiasm and positive attitude. They believe if they say the right things and act excited enough they will reach the top.
True leadership training takes the form of discipleship and this is why it’s so important to choose your role models wisely because the process is so personal and consuming. Also realize that a good leader will never let you put them on a pedestal because they are human and have bad days and struggles just like the rest of us. They understand that life is a never-ending classroom and they will never know enough or be satisfied that they have finally achieved their goal of becoming everything they believe they can be.
Did you catch Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar speech? The role model, the person he is chasing that inspires him is himself in 10 years. But it’s a rolling 10 years; he never catches himself and the result is that he’s constantly trying to better and improve himself to be the best that he can be. That’s the mark of a good leader and it inspires me to want to know more about him, a key component in both the definition and 10 traits of a leader, remember?
So how do you inspire your tech team? Start by listening and focus on the relationship with each crew member. Get outside the church and do things as a team. Live life together not just within the confines of the church and certainly not just within the confines of the booth. Inside our churches, it’s more important than ever to have deep and meaningful relationships with those we work beside; remember, we live in a world at war; we were born into it. I want to know that those beside me in this battle have my back and I can trust them and that trust only comes through shared experiences. So go get some ice cream, have a pizza party, watch a great movie, go play laser tag, and just make sure you know how to get to the high ground.
For all of you in leadership of some kind, what do you believe makes a great leader? For those under leadership, what qualities do you appreciate the most?