Styles of leadership are numerous, one of which is transformational leadership. The idea is leadership that transforms the people around them, shaping the direction of the future.
Transformational leadership characterizes leaders who have integrity and exemplify consistency in their example. They encourage, support, and help followers look beyond their own self-interests and focus on the good of the team.
Of all leadership styles, this one connects to the heart of spiritual leadership.
Are we transforming others to live closer to God?
Are we striving to transform the lives of others by the character we demonstrate?
When we cultivate something, we “acquire or develop, to win the favor of, prepare and use.” The very definition is powerful. When we consider leadership we need to apply cultivation.
Relationships must be cultivated.
Trust must be cultivated.
Vision must be cultivated.
These three areas are only the beginning.
Leaders must also understand the need to cultivate leadership. Acquiring and preparing others to lead determines the success of our leadership.
Cultivate leaders by mentoring.
Cultivate leaders by leaving a legacy.
Cultivating leadership requires action.
A good friend of mine says leaders must constantly “assess, adjust, improve, make mistakes and own them.”
We could describe this as the cycle of leadership. The principle shows that leaders know who they are and always seek improvement.
One of the ways to accomplish this is by asking difficult questions.
Do we really want to be a leader?
What is the motivation behind our desire to lead?
Are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices to lead effectively?
Will we commit ourselves to the task of continually developing our abilities to lead?
These provide a foundation to help us know who we are and improve our approach to leadership.
Are we doing the right thing?
Do our decisions reflect our beliefs?
Will we stand up for what we believe?
Does our leadership demonstrate the courage of our convictions?
Queen Latifah once said, “It’s not always easy to do the right thing. But, doing the right thing makes you strong, it builds character, it forces you to make decisions based upon your beliefs and not what other people think. In life, and in business, you have to stand for what you believe in and sometimes you have to stand alone. But, what makes you a leader is having the courage of your convictions.”
Courage is the choice we make to act upon our convictions at times when doing so moves us into a minority.
Will we answer the questions and take action?
Sadly, words which often characterize much of a society or culture begin to characterize the church. Examining the world and culture we live in reveals the problems of indifference and lethargy.
Our leadership must find ways to prevent and overcome these characteristics in the church.
We must fan the flame of enthusiasm.
We must energize creativity.
We must strengthen the hands of others.
We must lift up hearts.
When leaders see the opportunity, prepare themselves to improve, persevere through challenges, we overcome indifference and lethargy.
Leaders must be perpetual learners.
Donald Norris, president of Strategic Initiatives, identifies perpetual learning as “much more than lifelong learning on steroids. It is different from lifelong learning in every way.” He clarifies by stating that it involves learning every day, viewing growth in knowledge as a way of life rather than an activity of life.
This type of learning produces three benefits:
…a better understanding of leading people.
…a better vision of the future.
…a better love for life.
When driven to learn from every person we meet, book we read, and experience in life, we grow as leaders.
Christianity is a learned, taught system. This duplication process is how Christianity grows.
The same is true for leaders, especially spiritual leaders.
John Maxwell calls this the Law of Reproduction. He says, “If you want to grow, lead followers. If you want to multiply, lead leaders.”
Are we planning, grooming, and mentoring someone to lead when we are gone?
Too often we find a lack of qualified men to lead God’s people. Why? There are several reasons, but one falls on the need for leaders to reproduce themselves. Let us rise up and change the future by preparing others to lead.
Leaders do not succeed alone. Although the author is unknown, perhaps one of the most significant thoughts about successful leaders claims, “Successful leadership is your ability to direct and challenge the very best that is in those whom you lead.”
Since leadership depends on followers, it only makes sense to understand the need to draw out the best in others.
Adjustments may be required for leaders to achieve this goal. However, the ability to do so makes the difference between success and failure.
Planning is vital to achieving goals. The challenge before leaders is developing the right plan.
We must answer several questions.
What goal are we trying to reach?
Why is this goal important to the overall program, or is it?
Who will carry out the plan?
Are adequate resources available for each stage of the plan? If not, can they be obtained?
When will we evaluate the progress?
How can we achieve maximum involvement?
Once the goal is reached, where do we go from that point?
Answering these questions provides the right foundation for the proper plans.
Creativity can be frightening. Creativity brings change, and change makes us uncomfortable.
While change is Biblical, we do not always understand it, Thus, we stifle creativity.
Can leaders encourage creativity without the fear of change? Yes.
Create a “safe” environment. People need to know it is okay to discuss, even disagree, where there is no violation of Scripture.
Equip people with the right tools. When the right tools are provided, creativity soars.
Give heed to personal advice. Be cautious when promoting our own ideas.
Remember, we want to help others achieve success. Creativity can make the difference. Encourage it!