I typed “how to be a leader” into the Google search bar.
1.7 BILLION results popped up.
Clearly, we have an obsession with leadership. I’ve worked with so many people who fancy themselves to be leaders simply because they are in a supervisory role. But here’s something I’ve noticed: not very many leaders want to be managers. In fact, “manage” has received some pretty negative press. It’s often viewed as being hands-on, lording over, or monitoring every small step that employees take. I’ve heard both keynote speakers and friends in coffee shops say they believe good leadership trumps management. Recently, someone told me, “I shouldn’t have to manage people, because a good leader hires folks who should know how to lead themselves. People who need to be managed aren’t A-list people, and people like us don’t have time for that.”
Those words couldn’t be farther from the truth. I believe that the best leaders are, in fact, exceptional managers. Now, this isn’t about processes and procedures. It’s about the five essential things we as leaders should manage. So, what five questions do I ask myself as a leader?
Do I manage TIME? Do I cast good vision for work that needs to be done, set clear schedules and deadlines, make sure meetings begin and end well, and respect others’ time as much as I expect them to respect mine?
Do I manage RESOURCES? Am I a good steward of the money my ministry receives? Do I set an example of creativity when it comes to problem solving? Do I model a “we” rather than a “me” approach to solutions?
How do I manage EXPECTATIONS? Have I taken the time to provide enough information on directives given? Am I willing to provide context so my team can understand not just the “what” but the “why” of work that needs to be done?
Do I manage RELATIONSHIPS? Do I treat my staff well? Do I esteem those who donate their time and resources? When was the last time I said “please” and “thank you” or “I apologize?” Do I care about what happens to those I work with—and do I show it by adjusting my schedule to support them well? Do I pray for my team?
Do I manage MYSELF? Am I a good role-model? Do I live out what I expect in others? Where am I receiving wisdom and truth? Am I teachable? Who is holding me accountable? What am I telling others through my words—and the things left unsaid? Do I understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and embrace the value of community in my own life?
Some days, leading comes easy for you and me. And some days we miss the mark LIKE A BOSS. And through it all, we have a gracious loving Lord who models leadership like no one else by how He managed all five things: time, resources, expectations, relationships, and Himself.
So, leaders . . . let’s be good. Let’s manage well.
What are other ways we should manage ourselves?