Like most things in life – being a leader in the world or in ministry can be a tug of war between worldly expectations and being “set-apart” as followers of Christ. When we are living a Christ-centered, “set apart” kind of life (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Peter 2:9, John 17:15-18) our faith
should will bleed into every part of our lives, including our work life.
Now, it may seem easier to take Christ with you when you are called to be a ministry or non-profit leader, but even Christian leaders in ministry can struggle with a fundamental principle of Christian leadership: Shepherding your people.
If you are a leader of a ministry or a Fortune 500 company, this series of blogs will assist you to “Lead Like the Shepherd”
Shepherding Leaders Take Time to Know Their People, and Their People Know Them
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own know me.” John 10:14
A plant manager values the cost of routine maintenance instead of waiting to desperately fix a problem when it breaks. Likewise, a Shepherding Leader should have few surprises when it comes to their employees when their first and most important priority and investment is in maintaining a strong relationship with their people.
This point is not about creating “kumbaya” moments between you and your people – but it is about taking the time to build intentional, trust centered relationships with your employees. This type of leader stops what they are doing and listens first and with intent. He or she shows genuine concern for their people, what they are struggling with and how you care.
Shepherding Leaders are also comfortable with being an open and sometimes vulnerable leader. Gone are the days of the militaristic leadership style. People are not afraid to leave if they are constantly ordered around or made to feel demeaned. Your people want to know that you are a person too and not just their boss. Sharing your life and experiences and yes, even your failures with others motivates people to want to work harder for you.
Take Action: If you find that most of your conversations with your employees take place at your desk… move to another location to talk to your people. Sit and talk in the lobby or an open conference room. In addition, be intentional about the conversation. Ask questions about the employee and LISTEN to that part of the conversation just as much as the work-related information you are meeting about. You are not fooling anyone… people know when you are not listening! Finally, take time to listen. Block out time in your schedule to routinely talk to those who report to you – even if there isn’t an urgent business related matter that needs to be discussed. This is a great time to encourage and show appreciation.
Read On: Study Nehemiah 1-2:8. What is the situation? What is Nehemiah’s concern going to the King? How does the king respond? How do you think that made Nehemiah feel?