[credit: Looking Glass]
A great leader does four things and does four things well (by the way, I’m not saying this is all that a great leader does!).
For some this comes naturally – the ability to inspire others by what is said but even more by what that leader does. For other leaders it comes with HARD work (and I think I would fall in that category!!). A great leader inspires people to do great things. Of course, I happen to believe that for Christian leaders, what makes us inspiring is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is Jesus, who inspires us and through us inspires others. When as a leader you are passionately following Jesus and His word then in turn there will be others inspired to do the same.
This reminds me of something else, as a leader, it matters who you follow. Number two,
Great leaders don’t just share a vision, or promote a cause, or work in a vacuum. They invite people to the journey. They invite people to be a part of the movement. They invite people to the cause. They invite people to follow where the leader is heading. They invite people to use their gifts, to use their abilities, to give of themselves. Great leaders recognize that great things are never going to be accomplished by them alone.
- Jesus was a great leader because He inspired and then He invited. He said, “Come, follow me”. (Of course, Jesus didn’t need anybody to accomplish His mission. God doesn’t require others in order to accomplish His work. BUT He chooses to involve people in His plan and invites participation! Incredible!
- The apostle Paul gave an invitation to the Corinthian church when He wrote, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV)
- John F. Kennedy gave a powerful invitation to the American people in his famous speech, “…ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country” and then to the citizens of the rest of the world, “…ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
- What other invitations from great leaders can you think of?
Now its important to realize that not everyone will accept the invitation! But the great leader doesn’t let that stop them from extending it any and every opportunity they get.
Some leaders invite but then stop there. They wonder why people get tired, burn out and run out of gas. Some leaders have trouble understanding why people they’ve invited aren’t sticking it out. Great leaders know that they it’s not just about inviting, but also equipping people for what they’ve been invited to. Great leaders say, “come join me on this journey, here’s what we’re going to do to GROW” Great leaders identify resources and experiences that will equip the people they’ve invited.
Finally, the one thing that ultimately adds the greatness to powerful leaders is that they always…
Great leaders recognize that they must release people to do what they’ve been inspired from, invited to, and equipped for. Without this, leaders don’t reproduce, and when there is no reproduction there is no increase, no growth. Organizations grow when there is a multiplication of leaders. Organizations die when there is only one “leader”. Great leaders, powerful leaders know that visions become reality when people are released to accomplish things that the leader could do but won’t do because there’s an opportunity for another leader to be launched.
Four things: Inspire, Invite, Equip, and Release. In the great leaders that have had influence in my life I have seen these four things at work and am striving to include them in my own leading. What do you think of this list? Is there anything you’d modify or add?